Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Briefing | Labour force outlook seems positive

Published:Wednesday | November 23, 2016 | 11:00 AMDr Andre Haughton

Moody's Investors Services has upgraded Jamaica's credit rating from a Caa2 rating to a B3 rating. This is a positive encouragement to the country's increased efforts to improve fiscal consolidation and other reforms that are being implemented to strengthen the robustness of the economy. Moody's gave the upgrade after careful consideration; Jamaica's score remains in the B3 category because of the nation's high debt, high interest payments and susceptibility to external shocks. The upgraded rating will provide positive goodwill to increase the country's ability to access credit and the international lending market. Economic activity has been increasing as well; the overall unemployment rate has fallen by 0.4 per cent, but remains high at 12. 9 per cent and the job-seeking rate fell by 0.3 per cent.

 

How is the change in employment distributed among industries?

 

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has indicated that from January to the end of the July quarter 2016, 9,400 more people have been employed to the manufacturing industry, 10,200 more people to the construction industry, 12,100 more to the hotel and restaurants industry, 15,500 more to the real estate renting and business activity, and 4,000 more people to the public administration and defence; compulsory social security industry group. Notwithstanding this, 7,200 fewer people are employed to the education sector, 5,900 fewer people are employed to the health and social works sector, 5,800 fewer people are employed to the agricultural sector, and 1,700 fewer people are employed to the mining and quarrying industry. The employed plus the unemployed who are actively seeking jobs combine to form the labour force participation rate.

 

How has the labour force participation changed since the start of the year?

 

According to the latest labour force survey issued by STATIN, the total labour force participation rate has increased marginally by almost one per cent from 64.3 in January to 65.2 as of the end of September 2016. Over this period, the total male labour force participation rate has increased by 0.5 per cent. More young men ages 14 to 19 are actively employed or seeking employment as the labour force participation rate increased by 1.9 per cent from 12.5 per cent to 14.4 per cent. Young people should be provided with a platform to encourage them to further increase their education and training to enhance the usefulness of their labour over the long run. The labour force participation rate for young adult men between the ages of 20 and 24 decreased marginally from 73.6 per cent to 73.4 per cent. The labour force participation rate for men between the ages of 25 and 34 increased marginally by 0.8 per cent from the start of the year to the end of September 2016. The rate for men between 45 and 54, however, fell by 1.6 per cent, while the retired labour force for the 65 and over age group has decreased by 0.5 per cent.

 

What about the female labour force?

 

Total female labour force has increased from 57.8 to 59.2 per cent. The labour force participation rate for females between the ages of 14 and 19 increased by 0.2 per cent, the same principles that apply to the men, applies to the women; they should be encouraged to increase their education and training. For females between the ages of 25 to 34, the participation rate increased by 0.8 per cent. For those between the ages of 35 to 44, the labour force participation rate increased by 2.5 per cent while increasing by 1.4 per cent for those between five and 54 years old. The female retired labour force for the 65 and over age group has increased by 2.2 per cent.

Total labour force participation rate has increased marginally by almost one per cent from 64.3 in January to 65.2 as of the end of September 2016. Over this period, the total male labour force participation rate has increased by 0.5 per cent. More young men from age 14 to 19 are actively employed or seeking employment as the labour force participation rate increased from 12.5 per cent to 14.4 per cent. Young people should be provided with a platform to encourage them to further increase their education and training to increase the usefulness of their labour over the long run. Labour force participation rate for young adults between 20 and 24 decreased marginally from 73.6 per cent to 73.4 per cent. The participation rate for men between the ages of 25 to 34 increased from 90.8 per cent at the start of the year to 91.6 per cent at the end of the September quarter. The rate for men between 45 and 54, however, fell by 1.6 per cent.

- Dr Andre Haughton is a lecturer in the Department of Economics on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies. Follow him on Twitter @DrAndreHaughton; or email feedback to editorial@gleanerjm.com.