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  • The unemployment rate has continued to decline despite an increase in the labour force, that is, the number of persons actively seeking employment.
  • Mr. Shaw informed that the July 2016 data show that the unemployment rate was 12.9 per cent, much lower than the 13.1 per cent in July 2015, and the 13.7 per cent in April 2016.

The unemployment rate has continued to decline despite an increase in the labour force, that is, the number of persons actively seeking employment.

This was disclosed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, as he opened the debate on the first Supplementary Estimates for the 2016/17 fiscal year, in the House of Representatives on January 17.

The Estimates show that the budget has been revised upwards from $579.93 billion to $592.74 billion, an increase of $12.8 billion.

Mr. Shaw informed that the July 2016 data show that the unemployment rate was 12.9 per cent, much lower than the 13.1 per cent in July 2015, and the 13.7 per cent in April 2016.

“What this means is that the number of employed persons increased by 17,900 between April and July 2016, and by 39,400 when compared with employment in July 2015,” he explained.

The Minister noted that the number of persons who entered the labour force who are now actively seeking jobs has increased by 9,400 over the period April to July 2016, and by 42,600 between July 2015 and July 2016.

“This trend indicates that with continued growth, we can expect more employment opportunities for Jamaicans,” Mr. Shaw said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw said consumer prices rose by only 1.7 per cent between December 2015 and December 2016.

“This is the lowest calendar-year inflation rate in Jamaica since 1964. Our low inflation rate has benefited from low oil and other commodity prices, strong increase in local crop production, as well as our continued tight fiscal policy stance that helps to contain excess demand in the economy,” he added.