Unemployment drops to record low 8 per cent

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DIRECTOR General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) Carol Coy announced Tuesday that in January 2019 Jamaica achieved a new record-low unemployment rate of eight per cent.

“After record-low unemployment rates of 8.4 per cent in July and 8.7 per cent in October 2018, the unemployment in January 2019 declined to a new low of eight per cent. This was a reduction of 1.6 percentage points relative to 9.6 per cent in January 2018,” Coy said.

She was addressing STATIN’s press conference for the release of the March 2019 Consumer Price Index and January 2019 Labour Force Survey, at the agency’s offices on Cecelio Avenue in St Andrew.

“When disaggregated by sex, the male unemployment rate declined from 7.4 per cent to 6.1 per cent, while female unemployment rate fell from 12.2 per cent to 10.3 per cent. Among the youth, the unemployment rate was 21.8 per cent. For male youth, the unemployment rate was 17.9 per cent and for female youth, it was 26.5 per cent. These showed declines when compared to January 2018,” Coy said.

She noted that the employed labour force for January 2019 was 1,232,700, which was 28,600 (2.4 per cent) more than in January 2018; the increase in employment for females was more than twice that of males and the number of employed males increased by 9,500 to 673,500 and employed females by 19,100 to 559,200.

“The occupations with the largest increases were clerks, professionals, senior officials and technicians and elementary occupations. The increased employment in the occupation group ‘clerks’ was mainly females, aged 20 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years. This group includes occupations such as customer service clerks working as hotel receptionists, survey and market research interviewers, telephone and switchboard operators, contact centre information clerks, bank tellers and travel consultants,” Coy explained.

The group “professionals, senior officials and technicians” is a combination of three occupational groups and includes physical and engineering science technicians; mining, manufacturing and construction supervisors; process control technicians; medical and pharmaceutical technicians; and nurses and midwives.

The group “elementary occupations” includes car washers, street vendors and housekeepers in hotels.

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