Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Allen Chastanet has given credit to his United Workers Party Administration [UWP] for reducing the national unemployment rate. By the Prime Minister’s account, national unemployment has gone down by 25% since assuming Office after the June 6 General Elections of 2016.
Data from the Central Statistics Dept. confirm a national unemployment average of 21. 4% during the second quarter of 2016 [April – June] when compared to 25% during the same period in 2015.
The unemployment figures during the third quarter of 2016 [July – Sept] was capped at 20% representing a marked decline from 23.5% for the same period during 2015.
The unemployment rate averaged 20.4% for all of 2016.
Fast forward to the third quarter of 2017 and the national jobless rate plummeted to 16.8% – [according to the math] that’s 3.2% better than the same period last year.
The UWP Administration has been in Office for 17 months to date. Director of Statistics Edwin St. Catherine has publicly noted the downward unemployment trend and narrowed it down to the fourth quarter of 2015 [October – December] – attributing the gains to growth in the accommodation and food services sectors.
The last time the unemployment rate fell below 20% in the 3rd quarter was 8 years ago in 2009.
While expressing some confidence in the Statistics Dept, Prime Minister Chastanet told reporters on December 4 that he plans to call up the Director to [further] elaborate on the job figures.
St. Catherine previously sat-down with HTS News4orce to shed light on the encouraging job figures.
Director St. Catherine pointed out that roughly 6.7% of all jobs recorded in the third quarter are ‘vulnerable employment’. According to the Statistics Director,
“We believe that these additional jobs are to some extent vulnerable jobs…these jobs have not fully taken root in the private sector which is the sector generally responsible for driving most of the employment that is created.”
The trend of lower unemployment figures is expected to continue through the fourth quarter of 2017.
The Statistics Department’s believes that the latest numbers as it pertains to a recovery in the job market needs to be confirmed by further quarterly declines in unemployment in the future.