Tue | Feb 18, 2020

'We have to create our own jobs'

Published:Wednesday | February 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dr André Haughton

How have the labour force and unemployment changed?

THIS WEEK, we discuss the findings of the latest Labour Force Participation Survey conducted by Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) on the current unemployment situation and changes to the distribution of the labour force in the country.

The labour force represents the number of persons who are either working or are actively seeking a job in the economy. The unemployed refer to those actively seeking jobs, and can't find any, those who are not working and are not actively seeking employment are excluded from the labour force.

The results from the Labour Force Participation Survey indicated that the number of people actively working or seeking work increased by 20.9 per cent at the end of 2013 relative to 2012. There are 1,304,800 people in the labour force compared to 1,283,900 at the end of 2012.

According to STATIN, the unemployment rate as of October 2013 is 14.9 per cent; 0.9 percentage point higher than the same period in 2012, but 1.3 per cent lower than the 16.2 per cent recorded in July, 2013. The labour force participation rate was also higher in July, which might have resulted in the higher than normal unemployment rate for that period.

What is the unemployment distribution by gender?

The male labour force increased by 7,900 or 1.1 per cent between October 2012, and October 2013. Seven hundred and five thousand seven hundred men were a part the labour force at the end of 2012, compared to 713,600 at the end of 2013, down from 716,000 at the end of April last year. The female labour force increased by 13,000 or 2.2 per cent, up from 578,200 at the end of 2012 to 591,200 at the end of 2013, down from 606,400 at the end of April last year. Unemployment among men is now 10.6 per cent compared to 20 per cent for women.

What is the unemployment distribution by age?

Unemployment among youth aged 14 to 24 has increased by three per cent from 34.7 per cent at the end of 2012 to 37.7 per cent at the end of 2013. The unemployment rate for young men is now 31.4 up from 30.1 per cent at the end of April last year. The unemployment rate for young women is now 46.2 compared to 27 per cent at the end of April last year.

Where did the jobs go?

Of the employed labour force, 12,800 or 14.3 per cent more clerks were employed from 89,400 at the end of 2012, to 102,200 at the end of 2013. During the same period, 10,600 or 4.7 per cent service workers and shop and market workers lost their jobs, falling from 225,900 at the end of 2012 to 215,300 at the end of 2013.

What about industries?

The largest increase in employment occurred in the category of health and social work, moving from 26,200 at the end of 2012, to 34,600 at the end of 2013, approximately 8,400 or 32.1 per cent new jobs were created in this job category.

What is happening overall?

Economic conditions have improved since the end of last year, as the economy is estimated to have grown by one per cent. This is evident in the increase in employment figures between April and October last year. Notwithstanding this, the economy did not grow enough to absorb a large portion of who wants jobs, and some people have lost hope in trying to find employment; so they exited the labour force after entering early last year.

Unemployment among youth and women has increased despite a fall in the overall unemployment rate. More adult men have been given jobs relative to young people and women. Growth projections for this year are positive; therefore, we expect a further reduction in the unemployment rate for this year as well. Overall, the onus is on us to create jobs of our own via entrepreneurship and enterprising. In this modern world, it is useless to sit and rely on others, including the Government, to create employment opportunities on our behalf.

Dr André 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 editorial@gleanerjm.com.