Women hit decade-high employment in The Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — For the first time in more than 10 years, more women than men are working in The Bahamas, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Article IV Consultation Country Report.

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

In its most recent report, it noted that unemployment is at its lowest level since 2008 — although it also acknowledged that the labour participation rate has also fallen since the pandemic.

jobs in the bahamas

Unemployment overall is at the lowest level since 2008. (Canva photo)

Of those employed in The Bahamas up to 2023, the IMF noted that most are women.

“In 2023, for the first time in over a decade, labour force participation is higher and the unemployment rate is lower for women than men,” the IMF reported.

Culturally, it is not uncommon for more women than men to be employed in Caribbean countries. Many are the primary breadwinner or head of their households, and are largely expected to provide for their families in every possible way.

In Jamaica, for example, the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) found that women do the most work — both paid and unpaid — in the country.

However, it is often the case that women have informal jobs, which are vulnerable to external shocks, or that they have entry-level positions rather than management roles in formal jobs.

This despite the fact that entities such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have confirmed women perform better at jobs than men do in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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    Women mostly have services sector jobs in The Bahamas

    The IMF, in its report, noted that the reason more women than men have jobs in The Bahamas is because most are employed in the services sector.

    “[It] is largely due to the sectoral strength of various service industries that disproportionately employ women,” the IMF noted.

    jobs in the bahamas

    Women are mostly working services jobs in The Bahamas. (Photo by EdZbarzhyvetsky on DepositPhotos)

    The service industry pertains to jobs that provide services rather than goods. This includes sectors like hospitality, banking, wholesale/retail, communications and transportation, as compared to goods sectors like agriculture, mining, construction and manufacturing.

    Services jobs also include those provided through small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for a large share of jobs throughout the region.

    During the pandemic, although tourism took a major hit, many services sector jobs were unaffected — and in countries like Jamaica, many even thrived despite the intense economic challenges.

    Notably, the IMF found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, while emergency measures were still in place, more women received unemployment benefits than men.

    “During COVID, unemployment benefits disproportionately supported women,” it noted.

    “Twenty-eight percent of women employees received benefits (20 percent for men) due to the higher share of females working in the most affected service industries.

    “Furthermore, over two-thirds of benefit recipients received an extension during COVID, a majority of which were women.”

    However, while women account for most employees in the services sector, the IMF pointed out that more men in The Bahamas tend to be entrepreneurs.

    “Women constitute almost two-thirds of public employees and over one-half of private employees, although the self-employed are predominantly male,” it said.

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    Source: https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2024/02/02/pr2436-bahamas-imf-exec-board-concludes-2023-art-iv-consult

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