Tue | Dec 5, 2023

More households have incomes reinstated, but unemployment continues

Published:Friday | July 16, 2021 | 12:10 AM

Carol Coy, director general of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
Carol Coy, director general of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.

Restrictions associated with the COVID-19 virus continue to negatively impact household incomes, but the number of individuals impacted has been declining, notwithstanding the contraction of the economy that continued into the March quarter, when output declined by 6.7 per cent.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Statin, said in relation to the impact of the coronavirus on the labour market in Jamaica, that in the April 2021 survey, over 40 per cent of employed persons, or 498,200 individuals, were still experiencing either a complete or partial loss of income from employment since March 2020.

In the previous labour survey, Statin had found that approximately 46.2 per cent, or 551,900, of employed persons had experienced either a complete loss of income or partial loss of income from their employment since the advent of the pandemic in March 2020.

The study found that 'work from home' continued to be an option for employers and employees, and that 10 per cent, or 122,200, of the persons employed spent at least one full day working from home or a similar location during the reference period.

“Majority of the work-from-home employees were mostly females and more than one-half, or 57.4 per cent, of the persons working from home were in the occupational group 'Professionals, Senior Officials and Technicians',” Statin Director General Carol Coy said on Thursday at her quarterly press briefing.

While money is flowing back in the pockets of the employed, Statin reported that the number of unemployed is still 13.5 per cent, or 14,200 higher than the levels of the unemployed in April 2019. The April 2020 labour force survey was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For the April 2021 labour force survey, the number of jobless workers rose to 119,400. The number of unemployed males was 53,400, up 34.2 per cent, while unemployed females totalled 66,000, which was relatively flat in comparison to the 65,400 employed in the April 2019 survey.

The unemployment rate, or UER, for April 2021 was 9.0 per cent, a slight uptick from January's UER of 8.9 per cent, but is a better outcome than the UER of 10.7 per cent recorded in October 2020.

Jobs held by male workers are declining at s faster pace than females, but males still dominated the employed labour force at 661,900 of the estimated 1,206,000 persons.

“The industry groups with the highest number of employed persons were 'wholesale and retail trade', 'repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles' (233,200 persons), 'agriculture, forestry and fishing' (192,200 persons), 'construction' (118,400 persons), 'arts, entertainment, recreation and other services' (106,900 persons), and 'real estate and other business services' (105,000 persons),” Coy said.

Relative to April 2019, the largest declines in the number of persons employed were observed in the industry groups 'arts, entertainment, recreation and other services', which fell by 22,100, or 17.1 per cent, and 'accommodation and food service activities'. down by 25,500 persons, or 18.1 per cent.

The decline in employment for the period was tempered by increases in employment in the industry groups 'real estate and other business services', which had 17,300 more persons, an increase of 19.7 per cent; and 'construction', which had 7,600 more persons than in April 2019.

A breakout of the labour force by occupation group showed that the group 'service workers and shop and market sales workers' had the largest decrease in the number of persons employed.

“There was a decline of 10 per cent, or 29,500 persons employed in this group, relative to the April 2019 LFS (labour force survey). Females accounted for the majority of this decline. The second-largest decrease was in the group 'elementary occupations', which fell by 13,700 persons, or 8.0 per cent,” Coy said.