Jamaica’s unemployment rate declined

May 1, 2018

According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), unemployment rate continued on a downward trajectory for January 2018 due to decline in the labour force along with a simultaneous increase in employment. In January 2018, unemployment rate was 9.6%  a decrease of 3.1% when compared with 12.7% in January 2017, the latest release by STATIN revealed. The groups that were most impacted were female and youth.

Larger increase in female employment.

The 1,206,600 persons employed in January 2018 represented an increase of 22,600 (1.9%) when compared with 1,184,000 employed in January 2017. For males, employment increased by 1,900 (0.3%) over the twelve month period to 664,200 in January 2018 while female employment increased by 20,700 (4.0%) to 542,400. Despite this jump in female employment,  male represents 55.05% of the employed labour force  as at January 2018,  89 basis points less than the 55.94% represented by male in January 2017.

Youth Employment

As at January 2018, youth employment stands at 76.2%, reflecting a 7.4% increase in the number of youth who were gainfully employed in January 2018. Unemployment rate among male youth declined by 4.7%  to 20.4% for the period,  while the rate for female youth declined at a faster pace of 10.5% to 27.9%.

Occupation Groups

Likewise, the occupation group to report the largest gain in employment are female dominated. As stated by STATIN’s report “ The occupation group ‘Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales Workers’ was responsible for the greater portion (70.8%) of the increase in the Employed Labour Force, (16,000 persons or 6.2%),moving from 257,500 in January 2017 to 273,500 in January 2018.”  Service workers and Shop and Market Sales Workers’ was responsible for the largest portion of the increase in female employment for the reported period. ‘Elementary Occupation’  (which includes food preparation, mining and construction) accounted for the largest increase in male employment over the period.

Industry Group

By industry groups, more persons were employed in “Wholesale & Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicle & Equipment” than other industries. ‘Wholesale & Retail Trade and, Repair of Motor Vehicle & Equipment’ had the largest increase of 7,900 persons (3.3%) in the employed labour force moving from 238,800 in January 2017 to 246,700 in January 2018. The largest increase in the number of males employed (6,700 or 6.9%), was in the industry group ‘Construction’ which moved from 97,100 to 103,800. Among employed females, ‘Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities’ accounted for the largest increase of 5,700 (15.2%) moving from 37,600 in January 2017 to 43,300 in January 2018

Labour Force

The reduction of the unemployment rate was partially impacted by a decline in the labour force- the number of person actively seeking employment. According to STATIN “Total Labour Force in January 2018, was 1,335,100 persons comprising 718,000 males and 617,100 females. This was a decline of 21,200 (1.6%) when compared with 1,356,300 persons in January 2017.”



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