IMF says Bahamas at lowest unemployment rate in years

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Job prospects in The Bahamas seem favourable at the moment as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in a recent Article IV Consultation Country Report that unemployment in the country has hit its lowest levels in nearly 20 years.

The IMF conducts annual country consultations to assess the economic progress made by nations around the world.

jobs in The Bahamas

The IMF says The Bahamas is in a favourable economic position.

Its Executive Team concluded a review of 2023 progress made in The Bahamas and summarized the findings in the Article IV Consultation report.

“The Bahamas’ economy continues to rebound vigorously, driven by large tourism inflows,” the report read.

“Real GDP growth is estimated to have reached 4.3 percent in 2023 (from 14.4 percent in 2022), while the unemployment rate fell below nine percent.

“Inflation has been on a downward path since mid-2022.”

The IMF attributed its overall favourable outlook for The Bahamas on reduced government spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with strong recovery in the country’s tourism product.

“The Bahamas economy is in the midst of a solid expansion,” it said.

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    Not in the clear

    While low unemployment can be a good sign for The Bahamas, the IMF also acknowledged that it could be a result of lower labour force participation.

    According to the IMF’s records, labour force participation in The Bahamas stood at 76% in 2023, which is below the 81% level from before the pandemic.

    “The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in more than a decade, but participation has not yet fully recovered,” it said.

    jobs in The Bahamas

    Economic risks remain despite low unemployment.

    Additionally, it underscored that many risks remain.

    “The economic outlook is favourable, albeit with downside risks,” the IMF said.

    “Risks to the outlook are skewed to the downside and include an economic slowdown in tourism source markets and the potential for costly natural disasters.”

    It said “policy adjustments” from the government are necessary if the nation is to strengthen its growth potential and “ease downside risks.”


    World Bank projects slow growth

    At the same time, the World Bank has projected that The Bahamas will see one of the lowest GDP growth rates among many Caribbean nations in 2024.

    In its Global Economic Prospects report released this year, it projected that The Bahamas will experience 1.8% GDP growth.

    The only Caribbean country lower than this was Haiti, with 1.3% growth estimated.

    In comparison, some of the countries with the highest growth projections were:

    • Guyana, with a whopping 38.2% growth forecast — likely driven by its robust oil and gas industry
    • St. Vincent & the Grenadines, with 4.8% estimated growth
    • Barbados, with 4% estimated growth

    If this projection proves correct, it could dampen The Bahamas’ seemingly favourable employment prospects.

    However, the IMF maintained that the country’s “near-term growth prospects are favourable” for now.

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