IDB Reports Massive Loss of Jobs in Jamaica

A woman looks at signs at a store closed due to COVID-19 in Niles, Ill., Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) conducted a survey in the Caribbean recently which reports massive loss of jobs in Jamaica.

According to the survey, half of low-income households on the island (which are those earning less than $5 USD per day) reported a job loss while a quarter of higher-income families (those earning above $62 USD per day) reported the same.

“The responses from the survey for Jamaica were sobering. Nearly 60 per cent of low-income households (earning less than the minimum wage) reported a job loss in the household, and even a quarter of higher-income families reported a job loss as well,” the report states.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica has predicted that the island’s unemployment rate, which was at 7.3 per cent in January, will enter the double digits for the remainder of the year as COVID-19 forced lay-offs in almost every sector.

The IDB conducted its jobs survey online, titled ‘The Pandemic Saga Continues’, during the second half of April, with 12,500 respondents across the Caribbean.

In relation to the middle class, the IDB said that 48 per cent of those households experienced a job loss. Additionally, 50 per cent of the middle class experienced business closures. This represented the highest level among the three income categories. Upper-income persons witnessed a closure of businesses in 32 per cent of cases while for low-income households, closures were estimated at 45 per cent.

The report also highlighted the domino effect that COVID-19 had on remittances sent to Jamaica. During the height on the pandemic in the diaspora in April, IDB reports that remittances to Jamaica declined by over half of low-income families and nearly half of families in other income categories. However, when parts of the United States like Florida and New York began to relax their restrictions in June, remittances began trending upwards for Jamaica.

The dramatic decline in employment on the island has affected the reopening of schools, with many students unable to register for online classes and some schools unable to cover operating costs.

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