By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
WHILE more people became employed since November 2017, it was not enough to cause significant change to the country’s unemployment rate.
Six months ago the rate was 10.1 per cent, but as of May 2018, 10 per cent of people remain unemployed, according to Senior Statistician Cypreanna Winters in the Department of Statistics.
However, in New Providence, unemployment decreased from from 10.6 to 10 per cent.
Yesterday, Labour minister Dion Foulkes said the preliminary results of the Labour Force Survey indicated the Bahamian economy is stable and strong.
"The fact that employment increased compared to last November’s survey is very good news for Bahamian workers and their families," he said.
"The unemployment rate is on a downward trend. The significant decrease in unemployment in New Providence from 10.6% to 10.1% indicates that the FNM Government’s economic plan is working and bearing fruits."
Mr Foulkes continued: "The decrease in the number of vulnerable workers by 10% shows that the working conditions are improving and that workers’ salaries have increased.
"The Government remains concerned about the high rate of unemployment among our young people and programmes have and are being implemented to bring relief to our nation’s youth," Mr Foulkes said.
Ms Winters and Acting Director of the department Leona Wilson gave the preliminary results of the Labour Force Survey during a press conference Friday. The survey was conducted from April 29 to May 5.
Ms Wilson further revealed that the department used tablets to gather information, but due to this new method only preliminary details could be made public at this time.
“Since November 2017, employment has increased by 4,525 persons or 2.2 per cent from 203,730 to 208,255 in May 2018,” Ms Winters said. “There were increases in both the number of employed and unemployed persons.”
Two of the three most populated islands that were surveyed experienced increases in their unemployment rates and one experienced a decline.
“At the time of the survey the rate in Grand Bahama was 12.4 per cent and Abaco 10.7 per cent. In contrast, New Providence’s unemployment rate declined from 10.6 per cent in November 2017 to 10 per cent in May 2018.
“Among the total employed labour force, there were more men – 107,815 than women 100,440. Additionally in all the islands surveyed, except Abaco, men were higher in number among those who were unemployed.”
The vulnerable employment declined by 10 per cent from 16,370 to 14,740. The rate now stands at 7.1 of total employment. Additionally, there are more males – 8,265 than females – 6,475 in this category.
“These workers as defined by the International Labour Organisation are less likely to have formal worker arrangements and more likely to lack decent working conditions and are often characterised by inadequate earnings and benefits,” Ms Winters explained.
As for youth, aged 15 to 24, officials said unemployment for this group remains considerably higher than any other age group, although they said this was common.
“Their unemployment rate increased from 22.1 per cent in November 2017 to 24.1 per cent in May 2018.”
Discouraged workers in the country increased by 6.9 per cent.
New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced increases in the number of discouraged workers – 7.3 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.
However, discouraged workers in Abaco declined by 2.7 per cent. These persons did not look for work because they believed no jobs were available for them.