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Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Horace Dalley, says Jamaica needs to have regular, timely and reliable data on the labour force.

He further says that a modern economy “must be able to tell, on a regular basis, how many persons are exiting and entering the labour force”.

Minister Dalley was speaking at the presentation of findings of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica-produced Population and Housing Census 2011 on Wednesday (October 17), at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel.

Citing the example of the United States, which he said, produces data every month on the number of unemployed persons and those filing for social security benefits, he said: “that is where we have to go.”

“The Ministry of Labour, STATIN, PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica) and all the agencies … and the trade unions also, engaging in information gathering, must work together to reach that stage where we can produce reliable data on the labour force on a regular and timely basis,” he stated.

Minister Dalley, in the meantime, commended the work of STATIN and its partner agencies, noting that they produce some critical publications such as the ‘Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions’ and ‘The Household Expenditure Survey’ from data provided by the productive sector and householders.

Minister Dalley encouraged the sources to continue to provide the information in order to maintain the quality and integrity of the statistics produced.

What the data is saying, we will publish it.  We will not hold back any data at all, whether it is showing good or bad.  We will publish the data so that the people of Jamaica can see where we are at that point in time,” he stated.

Minister Dalley, in the meantime, informed that the Government is considering the revision of the Statistics Act to include the establishment of a Statistics Commission, which will have oversight for the management of the national statistics systems.

The objectives, he said, are to reduce duplication and ensure that common standards and methodology are applied.

He charged the Board of the STATIN “to put in place whatever needs to be done to make this happen”.