Unemployment rate falls to record 9.6%
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica’s unemployment rate has declined to a record low of 9.6 per cent as at the end of January 2018, down from the 10.4 per cent out-turn for the October to December 2017 quarter.
The figure is an improvement on the 9.8 per cent recorded in the October to December 2007 quarter.
Holness made the disclosure yesterday at the launch of Workers’ Week and National Labour Day activities for 2018 at the Office of the Prime Minister.
He noted that youth unemployment declined, falling to 23.8 per cent as at the end of January 2018, down from 31.7 per cent for the corresponding period last year.
Holness further pointed out that the unemployment rate among male youths fell by 4.7 percentage points to 20.4 per cent and that the female rate declined by 4.9 per cent from 17 per cent in January 2017 to 12.1 per cent as at January 2018.
The Prime Minister said that within the 9.6 per cent unemployed labour force figure would be a significant number of youths who are not trained, are below the educational attainment for their age, and are not currently attached to any institution.
“They would probably make up the largest portion of the unemployed,” he added.
Holness also reported that there are significant investment and development interests in business process outsourcing, tourism and hospitality, services generally, mining, and construction and civil development.
He noted, however, that the immediate constraint on the expansion of these enterprises is the availability of a labour force “that is at least at the minimum educational attainment level for their life cycle, that possesses work-ready attitudes and are amenable to training”.
Holness emphasised the Government’s goal of ensuring that “no one is left behind” and that there is “equal opportunity for every Jamaican to self-actualise”.
He emphasised that the best way to achieve this is by providing individuals with gainful employment.
Against this background, the Prime Minister said the Government has been proactive in implementing human resource development policies that ensure alignment between the output of the education and training institutions and the skill demand of industries.