Jamaicans shun available jobs as unemployment numbers climb
Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
A manpower gap analysis conducted by the Government's job placement and training agency - HEART Trust/NTA - has revealed that close to 100,000 employment opportunities are available in Jamaica today despite the growing unemployment rate.
Jamaica's latest Labour Force Survey showed that the unemployed pool grew to 177,200 between January 2011 and January 2012.
The findings of the January 2012 Labour Force Survey placed the unemployment rate at 14.1 per cent, compared to 12.9 per cent one year ago, as some 23,100 jobs were lost during the review period.
But many persons out of work and looking jobs are either not trained or not interested in the areas that are awash in jobs.
The HEART study that canvassed 100 occupational areas across nine major sectors also revealed that there was a manpower glut in some occupational areas.
Tabulation of the figures contained in the manpower gap analysis showed that some 31,600 persons were seeking jobs in areas where there are no vacancies.
The bulk of these persons were found to be looking for work in the services sector, including areas such as accountants, auditors, personnel and career professionals, motor-vehicle mechanics and fitters, secretaries, hairdressers, barbers and beauticians.
On the other hand, not many persons are looking to the agriculture sector which has some 44,497 jobs on offer but no takers.
More than 6,000 crop growers are needed all across the island, and work is also available for just over 2,000 farmhands and labourers.
The only area in the agriculture sector that recorded a surplus in workers was 'agricultural or industrial machinery mechanics and fitter'.
The study, which breaks down the country into four regions - South East, South West, North East and North West - also
showed which region had either a surplus or shortage in the 100 occupational areas.
The HEART Trust's manpower gap analysis showed that 73 occupational areas across the island need workers, while only 26 areas had too many persons seeking jobs.
No conclusion was recorded for one occupational area. The 2012 Heart Trust survey shows a slight shift from what was recorded in 2011.
A year ago, more job areas had a surplus of manpower. The 2011 data showed that 66 occupational areas had a shortage, 33 had a surplus and one area in construction had an approximate equilibrium.
In the Labour Force Survey, published by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), the sectors with the largest job cuts over the last year period included construction - 10,900 jobs lost.
The Labour Force Survey also pointed out that job gains were recorded in the health and social work sector, which employed 3,500 more persons; and the occupation group of plant and machine operators, up 1,200.
The experts at STATIN estimated that the persons seeking work in the January 2012 survey increased by 4.3 per cent to 106,000.
Where the jobs are!
For information on available vacancies contact the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at 922-9500-8
Excerpts from HEART's Manpower Gap Analysis
1) Creative Industries
- Street, nightclub and related musicians, singers and dancers: 178
- General managers in restaurants and hotels: 1,215
- Crop growers: 31,536
- Manufacturing labourers: 1,221
5) Information & Communication Technology
- Mail and small-parcel distribution: 478
6) Other (Education & Human Health)
- Primary-education teaching professionals: 2,947
- Demonstrators (Product/service promoters): 6,169
- Carpenters and joiners: 1,238
9) Mining and Quarrying
- Miners, stone splitters, cutters and carvers: 829