Jamaica Sees Record Low Unemployment Rate of 7.2%

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s unemployment rate has dipped to a new record low of 7.2 per cent as of October 2019, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).

The new rate represents a decline of over 1 percentage point. In July 2018, SATIN reported that the unemployment rate had fallen to a new low of 8.4 per cent.

According to STATIN, the employed labour force for October 2019 was 1,248,400, which was 29,200 or 2.4 per cent larger than in October 2018.

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It said the increase in employment for females was nearly twice that of males during the period under review. The number of employed males increased by 10,600 to 682,800 while employed females moved up by 18,600 to 565,600.

STATIN said the occupation group ‘Clerks’ had the largest increase in employment of 17,700 persons (19.3per cent), between October 2018 and October 2019. Some 109,400 people are now employed in this group. Of the increase in employment in this group, females accounted for 11,200 persons.

The second-highest increase was for the occupation group ‘Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales Workers’ which grew by 13,900.

The government’s increased efforts to strengthen the numbers in the security forces are paying off as STATIN is reporting that the largest change in employment by industry group was in ‘Public Administration & Defence; Compulsory Social Security’. This group increased by 10,800 persons, moving from 60,300 in October 2018 to 71,100 in October 2019.

This group also saw the largest increase in male employment (6,700), moving from 31,100 to 37,800. The industry group ‘Hotels & Restaurants Services’ accounted for the largest increase in female employment of 4,800 moving from 62,300 in October 2018 to 67,100 in October 2019.

However, employment decreased in ‘Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing’ by 6,500 persons to 188,500 over the same period.

And, while it remains high, the unemployment rate for youth aged 14-24 years, was 21.1 per cent in October 2019 compared to 24.9 per cent in the comparable period in October 2018. The unemployment rate for male youth decreased by 3.6 percentage points to 18.2 per cent in October 2019, while the unemployment rate for female youth declined by 3.9 percentage points to 24.7 per cent during the same period.

In the meantime, STATIN has advised that the number of unemployed persons in Jamaica in October 2019 was 96,700, a decrease of 19,000 (16.4per cent) when compared to October 2018. It said male unemployment decreased by 3,000 to 43,300 in October 2019 while the number of unemployed females declined by 16,000 persons to 53,400.

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