Nassau, Bahamas — The Department of Statistics issued the unemployment figures today and stated that unemployment is down to 13.7% according to data collected from some 2,000 homes.
At last count the unemployment numbers in 2009 stood at a staggering 14%.
Now get this, the department said had it included “discouraged workers” and crime troubled areas, they would have found unemployment numbers to be at 18.7% roughly 19% and could perhaps been higher!
Bahamas Press readers should note, by the end of today, City Markets will layoff over 70 workers. Last week BTC sent home 160 plus workers in a massive disengagement exercise. The week before that hundreds of phone card vendors were axed and that same week scrap metal workers were sent home. Whatever the numbers are in the DOS released today, add 10% to that!
Additionally, this data was gathered from the end of last year. BOY the saying is true, there are LIES, DAMN LIES and STATISTICS!
STATEMENT: 2011 Labour Force Survey
Published: Friday August 5th, 2011
The Department of Statistics releases the results of its Labour Force and Household Income Survey which was conducted in May of this year. The results of the survey provide information on the labour force as it existed during the reference period of April 25 – May 1, 2011.
Due to the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, a survey was not conducted in 2010 therefore the labour force components cover a two year period during which time the number of persons in the labour force increased by 6,055 or 3.3%, totaling 190,075 persons. Women were the main contributors to this increase accounting for 78% of the 6,055 with their numbers growing by 5.3% compared to men for whom the increase was 1.4%. Though the size of the labour force was larger than two years previously, the actual participation rate declined by 1.1 percentage points. The participation rate for women held steady but that of males fell by 2.3 percentage points.
Of particular interest is the fact that in New Providence, for the first time, the number of females in the labour force exceeded that of males accounting for 51% of the total. There were also more employed women than there were men. This was not the case in Grand Bahama where the traditional pattern prevailed; men outnumbered women in both the labour force and the employed labour force and were fewer in numbers among the unemployed.
The data show that there was a noticeable increase in the number of employed persons and a slight decrease in the number of unemployed persons resulting in a decline of less than 1% in the unemployment rate, which now stands at 13.7%. Both New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced a decline in the unemployment rate. In the case of New Providence the rate fell from 14% to 13.2% and in Grand Bahama from 17.4% to 15.4%.
The data further shows that two major factors contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate:
(1) Persons withdrew from the labour force – because of the apparent lack of economic activity they stopped seeking work thereby adding to the ranks of the discouraged workers which increased by 34.8% over the period, reaching a total of 11,900 persons. Women were less likely to become discouraged than the men as their increase in this area, though high, was noticeably less than that of the males – 34% versus 37%.
These persons, according to the standard definition of the International Labour Organization (ILO), adhered to by The Bahamas and most countries, including those of the Caribbean, are not considered unemployed as they did not meet the three criteria of unemployment namely i) seeking work, ii) willing to work and iii) able to work.
(2) A substantial number of persons, on the other hand, rather than becoming discouraged workers sought means of making a livelihood by engaging in informal sector activities such as the selling of phone cards and similar street vendor activities as well as the selling of jewelry, clothing and similar items from their cars or homes. This informal sector grew by 32% adding approximately 4,410 persons to that area and accounting for 70% of the addition to the employed labour force. The informal sector is described as that part of an economy that is not taxed nor monitored by any form of government. Workers in this sector usually have no contracts, little or no job security, no fixed hours, and often no fixed location from which they operate and no employment benefits such as sick or maternity pay.
This state of affairs is not unique to The Bahamas and happens worldwide, particularly in developing countries – a downturn in the economy gives rise to an increase in employment in the informal sector. Likewise, during difficult economic times, self employment ( in the formal or informal sector) tends to increase and this is borne out in the data which shows that that sector grew faster (10.3%) than any other sector particularly private enterprises which had an increase of less than 1%. In New Providence self employment grew by 3.1% whereas the increase in Grand Bahama was substantially higher at 16.9%.
The expansion in the employed labour force was largely due to women whose numbers increased by 5.6% compared to the 2.4% experienced by men. Employment in the informal sector seemed more accessible for women as their numbers increased by 65% compared to a much lower increase, 20%, experienced by their male counterparts. Informal activities tend to be concentrated in the retail industry, a subgroup of the Wholesale and Retail industry that grew more than any other industry over the period, increasing its numbers by 15.5%. In contrast, industries which tend to be dominated by males such as construction experienced a decline of 17.5%. This was also the industry with the highest unemployment rate of 26%.
These results will be available immediately on our website (statistics.bahamas.gov.bs) and the final report will be completed and disseminated by mid September 2011.