Formal jobs are improving in the Caribbean

Sustained efforts needed to maintain momentum of job growth

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — A troubling trend that began during the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to right itself, according to the latest economic outlook report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The informal job sector refers to jobs that are not regulated, and whose workers are not on formal, standard payrolls.

jobs in the Caribbean

Formal jobs offer workers more economic benefits and protection from external shocks.

Informal jobs are those like street vendors, beach hair braiders, gig work, for-hire jobs and similar occupations.

However, these jobs make workers extremely vulnerable to external shocks as they usually do not have the kind of economic benefits, security or other protections that formal jobs typically offer.

Unfortunately, during the pandemic and as a result of its impact on the tourism industry, job informality in the Caribbean increased dramatically over the past two to three years.

In fact, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) recently reported that most job growth in the region last year was in the informal sector.

Thankfully, the ILO has found that as the year drew to an end, formal jobs were making a steady recovery.

It acknowledged the “recent gains in formal employment in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

However, as major world economies begin preparing for a projected recession, the ILO expressed concern that the progress made with formal employment could relapse.

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    Caribbean job growth could slow

    The ILO also pointed out a silver lining, however, in that targeted efforts to provide employment opportunities to local residents was, in fact, paying off.

    The governing bodies of most Caribbean governments launched several employment initiatives aimed at increasing formal employment.

    Further, major international cruise lines undertook huge hiring sprees across several of the region’s nations as the cruise industry finally got back into full swing.

    In its report, the ILO said, “Bolstered by a combination of strong economic growth in 2021 and at the beginning of 2022, levels of formal private employment have fully recovered from the pandemic in the vast majority of countries in the region…

    “The gains in formal employment since the height of the pandemic are also a result of a number of country-specific policies that were implemented to bolster formal job creation.”

    Caribbean Employment Services Inc. is optimistic that job growth in the region will continue to increase.

    Despite this progress, the ILO forecasted that “employment levels in the region are expected to grow moderately over the coming years”.

    This is in part due to the uncertain global economic climate as the world collectively holds its breath and waits to see whether a recession will hit.

    However, Caribbean Employment Services Inc. remains optimistic that job growth in the region will continue as several nations have already put plans in place to ensure sustainable employability of its citizens in the future.

    Commenting on the report, Caribbean Employment Services Inc. CEO Joseph Boll said, “The pandemic brought many hard-learned lessons to the region, but it has proven resilient time and time again, and this time will likely be no different.”

    Find the latest jobs in the Caribbean via Caribbean Employment Services Inc.


    International Labour Organization report - “World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2023

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