#Nassau, January 22, 2019 – Bahamas – Preliminary results from the most recent Labour Force Survey shows 2,305 net new jobs were added to the Bahamian economy between May and November 2018. While these gains are noteworthy, the rate of job growth is still not adequate to absorb the number of school leavers entering the labour market each year. This accounted for a small increase in the overall unemployment rate from 10.0% to 10.7% in May of 2018. Notable, however, is that in the 18-month period since May of 2017 the economy added 10,400 net new jobs, largely in the private sector.
“Overall, we welcome news that the unemployment rate improved in Grand Bahama and Abaco, two of the largest population centres outside of New Providence. The numbers of discouraged workers also decreased, pointing to greater confidence in economic prospects among job seekers. But, our target is a level of growth that will reduce unemployment in a sustained way, and will be felt evenly across the country, so the work must continue and intensify,” said K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
“Our focus is on strengthening and expanding efforts to boost job growth, directly and indirectly, by investing in entrepreneurship, particularly for young Bahamians, as well as human resource development and other ways to stimulate growth in the private sector,” said Minister Turnquest.
Shortly the government will announce a package of direct financing instruments to get capital into the hands of Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses. This will allow for the creation of jobs and for opportunities for self-employment. An element of this will be a grant program targeted specifically at young Bahamians from disadvantaged backgrounds. These plans will give life to the government’s $25 million commitment to Bahamian entrepreneurship announced by the Prime Minister last year.
Human Resource Development
Over the extended term, the renewed emphasis on human resource development and training, as provided for by expanded scholarships for students at BTVI and UB, should build skills and improve their ability to capitalize on job opportunities and also to function successfully as self-employed persons.
Private Sector Growth
The Government’s ongoing initiatives to reinvigorate the Grand Bahama economy through the Commercial Enterprises Act should also serve to accelerate employment gains and bring these numbers down even further. The vision of Grand Bahama as the Tech Capital of The Bahamas has already started to take shape, based on the success of the Commercial Enterprises Act so far. Just last week, a new technology company, Dev Digital, software developers, launched in Grand Bahama looking to hire between 15 and 20 persons.
Additionally, a number of tourism related projects are geared to come on stream throughout The Bahamas in the medium term – in Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island, New Providence and elsewhere – that will further generate new permanent high quality jobs and significant entrepreneurial opportunities over the medium term.
Labour Force Report Summary – November 2018
Employment statistics are one of the key economic indicators the Government relies upon for evaluating the health of the Bahamian economy.
- The economy added 10,400 net new jobs in the 18-month period between May 2017 and November 2018, largely in the private sector. This includes 2,305 net new jobs added between May 2018 and November 2018, the latest reporting cycle.
- The unemployment rates in Grand Bahama and Abaco improved: Down from 12.4 to 11.9 percent in Grand Bahama; down from 10.7 to 7.7 percent in Abaco.
- The numbers of discouraged workers also decreased, pointing to greater confidence in economic prospects among job seekers.
- New Providence’s unemployment rate increased from 10.1% to 11.0%.
- The preliminary estimates for November 2018 point to an uptick in the unemployment rate, to 10.7% from 10.0% in May of 2018,
- Statistics indicate the rate of job growth is not adequate to absorb the growth of the labour force as school leavers join the labour market each year.
- More men (110,280) than women (100,280) were employed in the labour force
- The unemployment rate for women was 11.3% in November compared to 10.0% for men.
- Young women (aged 15-24) and core-aged women (aged 25 to 54) were more likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts.
- By contrast, men aged 55 years and over were slightly more likely to be unemployed compared with women in their same age cohort.
The “net” designation indicates a subtraction of the impact of job losses to the calculation to determine true growth or decline in the employment numbers.
Press Release: Central Communications Unit, Ministry of Finance