Manufacturing, hotels, restaurants among top sectors for Caribbean job growth
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — After a particularly rough economic period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, job growth in the Caribbean was on the upswing for most of last year.
This was an impressive turn of events for a region where many countries were tourism-dependent, and where early projections did not expect economies to recover until 2025.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently attributed this positive job growth to the many ongoing efforts of governments and other bodies since the pandemic hit.
These efforts have not just been in tourism and related fields, but even in new sectors as regions moved to boost economic diversification into completely new areas.
Now, a new report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is emphasizing the positive trend in job growth, particularly in some unexpected areas.
“Labour markets in the region continued to recover in 2022, maintaining a trend that had begun in 2021 with the acceleration of growth and the easing of the health measures adopted to address the pandemic,” the ECLAC said.
“The labour force participation rate recovered to reach 62.9 percent by the end of the second quarter of 2022, 0.3 percentage points higher than in December 2021.
“The number of employed was also up in the first half of 2022.
“The unemployment rate fell from a third-quarter high in 2020 of 11.5 percent to seven percent in the second quarter of 2022, on the back of an increase in the number of employed and a recovery of the workforce absorption capacity.”
Hospitality and manufacturing see the biggest job growth
Among the positive job growth experienced in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past year, jobs in the hospitality sector and manufacturing saw the biggest increases.
“Growth in the number of employed has been reflected in substantial rises in different sectors, with two-digit year-on-year percentage increases in activities such as commerce, restaurants and hotels (13.2 percent) and in the manufacturing industry (11.2 percent),” the ECLAC said.
“More than half of the jobs created in the second quarter of 2022 were in commerce, restaurants and hotels and in community, social and personal services, while 17.4 percent were in manufacturing.”
This could indicate not only a robust recovery in tourism, but also some progress in the services sector, which is a bit more resistant to external shocks and which has been seeing tremendous job growth in Jamaica especially.
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean report, “Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean”