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The ‘Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales’ industry group accounted for the highest number of persons employed – 290,700, as at July 2018.

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) Labour Force Survey for the month, the figure is 13,600 more than the 277,100 persons recorded for July 2017.

STATIN notes that the increase is also the largest recorded among the occupational groups, with women accounting for 12,300 or approximately 90 per cent of the figure.

The Institute points out that the number of employed females in the Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales occupational group increased from 172,400 persons in July 2017 to 184,700 in July this year.

Meanwhile, the largest increase in employed males, 9,700, was recorded in the ‘Craft and Related Trade Workers’ occupational group, which saw their number climbing from 133,400 in July 2017 to 143,100 this year.

The corresponding figure for females, 5,200, was recorded in the ‘Wholesale & Retail, Repair of Motor Vehicles & Equipment’ industry group, resulting in their number rising to 129,400 as at July 2018.

The total number of employed persons in the ‘Construction’ industry group rose by 9,400 persons to 103,700, with the number of additional males getting jobs in this sector similar to the margin of increase.

However, the number of males employed as ‘Skilled Agricultural and Fishery Workers’ declined by 7,400 to 145,500 persons.

The total employed labour force, according to STATIN, rose to 1,226,400 as at July 2018. This represents an increase of 12,800 above the number for July 2017.

The number of males employed increased by 5,900 to 681,800, while female employment rose by 6,900 to 544,600 persons.

This translated into the country’s unemployment rate falling to a new record low of 8.4 per cent as a July 2018, according to STATIN’s Survey.

The out-turn is 1.3 per cent lower than the 9.7 per cent recorded for the April 2018 Survey. It is also 2.9 percentage points lower than the rate of 11.3 per cent for July 2017.

STATIN says the decline is mainly attributable to an increase in the number of persons employed and a simultaneous reduction in the number of persons in the labour force.

The Institute notes that the July 2018 out-turn reflects a fall in the rate for males, down 2.2 percentage points to 5.8 per cent, and females, down 3.8 percentage points to 11.4 per cent.

Additionally, STATIN points out that the unemployment rate among youth aged 14 to 24 decreased by 5.3 per cent to 22.2 per cent, relative to the 27.5 per cent out-turn recorded in July 2017.

This, the Institute says, was influenced by a decline in the number of young people in the labour force.

The agency indicates that the rate for both genders declined by 5.2 per cent in July 2018, with the figure for males falling to 17.4 per cent compared to 28.1 per cent for females.

The agency points out that the number of unemployed persons declined by 27.7 per cent to 111,800.

This reflected a 28.6 per cent decrease in the number of unemployed males to 41,800, and a 27.2 per cent fall in the number of unemployed females to 70,000. The total number of unemployed youth decreased by 14,600 to 45,200.

Meanwhile, STATIN informs that the total labour force stood at 1,338,200 persons, a decrease of 2.2 per cent in July 2018, compared to the corresponding period last year.