JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Figures recently released by STATIN show an increased unemployment rate of 16.3 per cent
  • Several possible explanations for the increase in the unemployment rate including a greater than normal increase in the size of the labour force
  • Overall plan is to create the conditions for private sector investment by curbing the appetite for government expenditure

Minister of Finance and Planning, the Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, is to meet with representatives of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) to review the recently released employment figures.

Dr. Phillips made the disclosure during an interview on the Jamaica Information Service’s ‘Issues and Answers’ Programme recently.

“I am going to be meeting with the STATIN people to see what more they have that can explain. There is a much greater than usual increase in the size of the labour force, a three per cent increase, which is unprecedented, in fact. So what accounts for that is one of the things that we certainly need to get at,” the Finance Minister said.

Figures recently released by STATIN show an increased unemployment rate of 16.3 per cent.

According to STATIN the incremental increase in the unemployment rate for the April 2013 Labour Force Survey was caused by an additional 38,900 (three per cent) new entrants to the labour force.

Of these additional entrants, only 8,700 (0.8 per cent) found employment, with 30,200 (16.3 per cent) remaining unemployed.

Dr. Phillips also cited several possible explanations for the increase in the unemployment rate including a greater than normal increase in the size of the labour force.

“I note, too, that there are some areas like in your hotels and restaurants subsector, where you had a reduction which was to be expected, given the number of properties that have been pulled out of operation for refurbishing, change of ownership, but which will get back  into operation over the next few months,” Dr. Phillips said.

“The extent of the changes have some other elements to it, some easily identifiable. That is, some of the temporary nature of some of the changes in the tourism sector, the changes that have occurred in the agricultural sector which is hurricane Sandy and the drought which is going to see production building up back.  Just last week the Jamaica Producers Group indicated that they were taking on more people because the effects of the hurricane towards the end of last year had an impact on their operations. So we’ll see some of those temporary impacts corrected,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phillips noted that the overall plan is to create the conditions for private sector investment by curbing the appetite for government expenditure.

“(It) takes time to develop these investable projects and move forward. So all that we can do is to continue with the programme that reduces the debt which is the heart of the problem,” the Finance Minister said.