Workforce statistics show youth unemployment way down, decline in number of Jamaicans outside labour force
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (STATIN) latest Labour Force Survey suggest more young people and retirees may be joining the workforce now as compared to not only last year but also before the start of the pandemic.
This comes as STATIN reported another improvement in employment levels year-over-year as of October 2021 in its recently published quarterly report.
STATIN noted that for someone to count as being employed, they had to be “engaged in economic activity for at least one hour” during the survey period.
Carol Coy, STATIN director general, said the number of Jamaicans considered to be outside of the labour force — those 14 years and older who are neither employed nor unemployed, such as people with disabilities, students and retirees — stood at 766,500 in October 2021.
“Males outside the labour force declined by 9,500, while females declined by 19,500,” she explained.
“In October 2021, there were 1.3 million persons in the labour force, an increase of 31,400 compared to 1,297,700 in October 2020.
“The male labour force increased by 10,700 persons while the female labour force increased by 20,700 persons.”
To give better context to the figures, Coy pointed to the findings of October 2019, before the pandemic struck.
“The number of persons employed in Jamaica in October 2021 was 16,700 fewer than in October 2019,” she said.
“By age group, when we look at age group, there were more persons in the youth population (ages 14 to 24) and in the retirement age who were participating in the employed labour force in October 2021.”
Large decline in youth unemployment
STATIN’s Labour Force Survey found employment to be up 6.6 percent in October 2021 as compared to October 2020, with Coy highlighting increases across all age groups.
Focusing on youth unemployment in particular, which the director noted was down to 18.9 percent in October 2021, Coy revealed, “The number of unemployed youth fell by 17,600 to 37,400.”
Elaborating, she said, “There was a larger decline in female youth unemployment. The unemployment rate for females was 21.6 percent, down 12.3 percentage points.
“Male youth unemployment was 16.6 percent — a decline of 7.2 percentage points.”
These figures, Director Coy pointed out, were also an improvement as compared to October 2019 as “the number of unemployed youth and the youth unemployment rate mentioned prior were lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 43,300 and 21 percent respectively”.
The Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (October 2021) - https://statinja.gov.jm/