Services sector accounts for most job growth in Jamaica post-COVID
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — Jamaica’s services sector has continued to experience a significant boom in jobs even despite tourism’s strong recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global tourism and forced dozens of Caribbean nations to quickly enhance other ways to keep their economies afloat.
For Jamaica, the services sector — meaning jobs that provide services to clients rather than goods — took the lion’s share of jobs as tourism struggled to recover.
Now, global travel has resumed and tourism is returning in full swing. But for Jamaica, the services sector is still providing a wealth of jobs to citizens.
In fact, according to Jamaica’s HEART/NSTA Trust, the sector is “boasting a 270 percent increase in the number of jobs created over a five-year period”.
Jobs in service industries like banking, wholesale/retail, communications and transportation went from “17,000 in 2016 to more than 46,000 jobs that were created in 2021”, according to the organization.
The top ‘employment-creator’ in Jamaica
HEART/NSTA Acting Deputy Director Dr. Marcia Rowe-Amonde highlighted the immense growth of the services sector, as well as its potential moving forward.
Its incredible success was “due to an increase in the number of firms in the sector, making it the fastest-growing employment creator in Jamaica”, Dr. Rowe-Amonde said.
Additionally, she noted the expansion of Jamaica’s Global Services Sector (GSS) programme, which is designed to help the nation’s youth develop the necessary skills that will ensure their gainful employment.
She said the programme began with just 143 apprentices but has now expanded to some 3,400 over the past few years.
“The GSS is being repositioned for young people and adults to get decent jobs in which they can thrive and contribute to the country’s economic growth and productivity,” she said.
Further, Dr. Rowe-Amonde added, “We are committed to helping to reposition the sector for it to be a driver for economic growth, providing young people and adults with decent jobs.”
That mission seems set to be fulfilled if the latest data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is any indication.
In its latest quarterly report, STATIN found that jobs in Jamaica’s services sector accounted for most of the increase in job growth year-over-year.
This also aligns with earlier projections from Caribbean Employment Services Inc. that the services industry is poised to bring significant job growth in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean region.