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Unemployment Under 10% For First Time Since Recession

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE country's unemployment rate has dipped below 10 per cent for the first time since the great recession, according to data released by the Department of Statistics, which listed employment increases in the civil service, tourism industry and construction sector as contributing factors.

The Labour force survey, conducted between April 24th and April 30th, reports the country's unemployment rate at 9.9 per cent – a 1.7 per cent decrease from the results of October's survey.

The decline came as 7,770 people gained employment while there was a decrease of 3,485 unemployed people.

According to the survey, the unemployment rate in New Providence was 10.4 per cent; in Grand Bahama it was 12.4 per cent and in Abaco it was 7.8 per cent.

No sector experienced a greater increase in employment than the civil service. During the budget debate in May, the Minnis Administration decried the substantial rise in civil service employees in the lead-up to the election and has pledged to take a much more conservative approach to public sector hiring.

"The private sector absorbed most of the new jobs since November 2016," Senior Statistician Cyprenna Winters said Friday. "However, when examined by industry, the 'community, school and personal service' industry which includes the civil service, police service and the domestic services posted a 29.1 increase in employment; hotels and restaurants posted a 26.2 per cent increase and construction posted 20 per cent increase."

The unemployment rate among youth (15-24) remained "considerably higher than any other age group," Ms Winters said, though "there was a slight decline in the rate from 25.1 per cent in November 2016 to 24.1 per cent."

The statisticians introduced a new category for public consumption in this year's survey: the vulnerable employment category.

"These workers as defined by the (International Labour Organisation) are less likely to have formal work arrangements, and more likely to lack decent working conditions and are often characterized by inadequate earnings and benefits," Ms Winters said. This category includes people who have contracts allowing them to work for limited durations.

8.2 per cent of employed people in the Bahamas fall into this category, the statisticians said.

"During the period 2012 to 2017, the share of workers in vulnerable employment was fairly stable and ranged from 7.0 per cent to 9.2 per cent of the employed labour force," Ms Winters said, adding: "The percentage of men int his category was higher, although the percentage points differences between men and women were fairly small."

The inclusion of this category comes after critics have for years complained that the surveys, typically done twice a year, are inflated by the inclusion of temporary job holders. In recent years the surveys have coincided with the presence of the carnival festival and hurricane clean-up efforts, events that often lead to temporary employment.

16,370 people are considered vulnerable in this year's survey, the most for a May survey conducted over the past five years, the statistics show.

The latest survey also shows that discouraged workers, people who did not look for work because they believed no jobs were available, have declined by 8.8 per cent.

The Progressive Liberal Party quickly moved to capitalize on the survey results, with PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts saying Friday that the statistics from 2012 to 2017 show that 39,505 jobs were added to the economy, 7,770 of which were added in the final six months of the Christie Administration. "Regardless of what is said about the PLP government under Mr Christie, those are the objective numbers and the unvarnished facts," Mr Roberts said.

Comments

BMW 6 days, 10 hours ago

6 dsys of survey takes 4 months to put together?

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tell_it_like_it_is 6 days, 6 hours ago

I always find confusing the statistic regarding "people who do not look for work because they feel there are no jobs" (Or is that just an excuse). Wouldn't that become a self-fulfilling prophecy? How will you ever know whether there are any jobs if you do not look? Just when you quit looking could be the very day that someone might have hired you. Don't give up or at least try to do some type of independent work in the meantime.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 days, 5 hours ago

Our Department of Statistics is currently loaded with incompetent and unqualified individuals, from the top right on down. This is a vital department to the rest of government and the public at large. It must be well run and managed by qualified statisticians who are loyal to the completeness, accuracy and reliability of the statistical reports required to be produce on a regular basis or other special reports to be made available on request. Minnis and KP would be wise to make the important personnel changes needed in this department at the earliest possible time, even if it means engaging a couple of highly qualified foreign statisticians as an interim measure. The adage "garbage in, garbage out" applies to this department more than any other, with a great knock-on effect for all other government departments, agencies and corporations that use the vital statistical records generated, not to mention the private business sector.

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Reality_Check 6 days, 4 hours ago

Of course the unemployment rate dropped - just think of the many thousands of voters that the corrupt Christie-led PLP government put on the public payroll in the run up to the last general election! 'Vote buying' using the public payroll (a/k/a bribery or election fraud) was in full gear before the general election. Certain former PLP Ministers known to have been heavily engaged in this illegal practice during the six-month period ahead of the last general election should be held accountable and responsible for the abuse of their public office and the public trust. Taxpayers have already lost millions of dollars because of this criminal conduct on the part of certain former PLP Ministers and stand to lose millions more in the future as it will take time for the new government to 'undue' all of the costly job padding that was done throughout the civil service work force in an effort by the PLP to 'buy' the election using our tax dollars.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 days, 5 hours ago

Yep, gotta undo the 'undue' where individuals were just added to the public payroll with absolutely no good reason for doing so from the standpoint of the public sector's actual workforce needs and the taxpayers' pocket book.

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proudloudandfnm 6 days, 2 hours ago

Unemployment in Grand Bahama is way over 12.4%. More like 25 to 30%....

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Sickened 4 days, 6 hours ago

Maybe not. Hasn't everyone already fled Grand Bahama? Those 25% unemployed Grand Bahamians and now unemployed Nassuvians - but yet New Providence's rate went down. Something smells with these figures.

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John 6 days, 1 hour ago

This appears to be a move in the right direction even though one must be mindful of the time the survey was done. Just weeks before a general election. But yes more people are working and as this trickles through the economy hopefully it will generate more business activity. RIP Rupert Roberts founder and President of Super Value.

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John 6 days, 1 hour ago

Surprisingly there is a lot of construction activity on a number of the Family. I stands including Eleuthera, Exuma and The Abacos. A number of foreign investors are building rental units and retiring Bahamians are moving to the Family Islands to escape the hustle and bustle of New Providence.

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killemwitdakno 4 days, 21 hours ago

Did you seriously post this picture instead of giving us a graph .......? What was it historically?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 days, 6 hours ago

Most of the individuals currently working in our Dept of Statistics have a difficult enough time as it is with basic maths and you expect them to know something about using a graph to present data?! Come on, give 'em a break.

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