By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE national unemployment rate has improved - with labour force officials revealing on Friday a decrease to 9.5 percent.
This is down 1.2 percent from the 10.7 percent of November 2018.
According to senior statistician Cypreanna Winters, private sector employees drove employment gains.
At the time of the survey, the rate in New Providence was 9.4 percent and Grand Bahama was 10.9 percent. Both islands showed unemployment decreases down from the previous 11 percent and 11.9 percent respectively.
However, Abaco’s unemployment rate increased from 7.7 percent in November to 9.3 percent in May.
The statistics were gathered from 3,500 people in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco.
Mrs Winters and acting director of the department Leona Wilson released the latest statistics during a press conference.
“Employment rose by 4,330 in May when compared to November 2018 and reached about 215,000 persons,” Mrs Winters said. “On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 6,635 or 3.2 percent. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent, down from 10.7 percent in November.
“Two of the three most populated islands that were surveyed experienced decreases in their unemployment rates and one experienced an increase. At the time of the survey, the rate in New Providence was 9.4 percent and in Grand Bahama 10.9 percent. On the other hand, Abaco’s unemployment rate increased from 7.7 percent in November to 9.3 in May.
“Employment gains were driven by private sector employees which increased by 1.8 percent to 137,605 persons when compared to November. Additionally, the number of self-employed persons remained unchanged at 32,475 since November 2018.”
She continued: “The hotel and restaurant sector experienced the greatest increase since May 2018 – 24 percent, while the community, social and personal service industry, which includes the civil service, police service and domestic service continued to be the country’s largest employer in May 2019 and accounted for 35 percent of the work force.”
Additionally, women were more likely than men to be unemployed.
Still the overall unemployment rate for women dropped to 9.9 percent in May, compared to 9.2 percent for men.
“Young women, those aged 15-24 and core-aged women 25-54 were more likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts. By contrast, men aged 55 years and over were slightly more likely to be unemployed when compared with women in their same age cohort,” Mrs Winters said.
Officials said vulnerable employment remained basically unchanged since May 2018 with no difference in its rate of 6.9 percent of total employment. Men still dominate this category.
These workers are defined as less likely to have formal work arrangements and more likely to lack decent working conditions and are often categorised by inadequate earnings and benefits.