By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Opposition’s House of Assembly leader yesterday called for Labour Force Surveys to be done monthly as opposed to a bi-annual basis, in order to have consistent data on unemployment “ebbs and flows”.
Loretta Butler-Turner argued that the Bahamas was facing a “bleak and black” Christmas, notwithstanding the 1.1 per cent decrease in the nation’s official unemployment rate to 11.6 per cent in November.
“It is clearly not an indication in terms of expansion of the economy,” Mrs Butler-Turner said of the drop.
“What it also clearly demonstrates is that if this was expanding the economy, it would not be done at the expense of the public purse. There is no new infusion of money, so to speak.
“You have two surveys done, one in May and one in October or November. May is the month that this administration chose to do Carnival, and there are temporary jobs provided there,” she continued.
“This year, because of the tragedy of Matthew, it has coincided with the survey. It’s not a good barometer of whether we are growing the labour force.
“One must also note that post-Hurricane Matthew there were a lot of private sector lay-offs because of what had happened in Grand Bahama, and even here in Nassau.
“We have got to look at all of these things and realise that real generation of money into the economy is from the private sector and not the Gvernment. The government cannot grow the economy by using taxpayers’ money.
Mrs Butler Turner added that based on reports from the Central Bank, this nation’s economy has been contracting for the past three years.
“At the end of the day this administration has truly taken us over the edge. We are facing a bleak and black Christmas,” she said.
“It matters not what the Department of Statistics has produced. I’m not going to discredit their work, I think they are a very credible organisation, but to get a very clear picture of the economy we have to be able to do these things monthly as opposed to bi-annually so that we can see the ebb and flow of job creation.
“ I think the bigger picture is that over the last three years, if you’re looking at the Central Bank report, you will see that we have had a contraction of our economy, which means that this country has been in a recession for three years.”