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Jun 25, 2014

Joblessness decreased in the City, but increased in the districts

The latest figures on unemployment were released this morning by the Statistical Institute of Belize. It shows a nominal drop in joblessness compared to the same period last year. The improved figures, according to S.I.B., are reflected in the city where there is construction work taking place. In the other districts, however, the unemployment rate increased placing the southern districts at a disadvantage.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

In Belize, as of April 2014, there are approximately sixteen thousand, seven hundred men and women who are presently jobless.  It is a significant figure when one takes into account that the total number of unemployed workers has reduced by a mere three point six percent or roughly six hundred people since last year.  While the unemployment line has been shortened by a fraction, recent statistics show that Belize District has experienced a boom over the past year.  The contributing factors for the increase in labor include ongoing infrastructure works within the city.

 

Leopold Perriott

Dr. Leopold Perriott, Deputy Director-General

“Prior to 2011, there was an increase in the unemployment rate generally and then it is now bottoming out at the 2013-2014 and so there is a possibility that the trend will continue and the bottoming will continue.  Now I want to suspect however that there are a lot of jobs being created and basically it’s seasonal work and so when the construction around the city finishes and when the oil prospecting finishes then we might want to think that there may be an increase [in unemployment] again.”

 

The number of persons employed grew by three thousand, two hundred to around a hundred and thirty-four thousand, six hundred men and women.  A majority of the additional jobs created in April are positions that are being occupied by men.  The unemployment rate among women currently triples that of men.

 

Dr. Leopold Perriott

“These numbers, these percentages remain virtually unchanged from one year ago.  One year ago, the males, they were seventy-nine, one percent more, eighty point zero practically percent males in April 2013 and we are basically just slightly down by one percent.  And similarly for females we are virtually the same mix in the labor force as of April 2013.”

 

As it stands, the unemployment rate among women is nineteen point four percent, while five point nine percent of men are without work.

 

Dr. Leopold Perriott

“If you look at agriculture, you heard that citrus is down, that sugarcane is down but shrimp is up, okay and so that’s where the big earner is, it’s in shrimp.  And so although citrus is down and sugarcane is down the shrimp kinda compensates.  Well construction is the easy one, it’s just straight going.  Manufacture, down in a lot of instances but, correct me if I’m wrong, manufacture for things like soft drinks and beer is up quite a bit.  What else?  Interestingly enough, education is up.  I don’t know if that says something.”

 

The average monthly income of employed workers fell by almost a hundred dollars to eight hundred, ninety-five dollars, suggesting that many of the new jobs are low-paying.  The segment of employment in the goods-producing sectors went up from thirty-one percent to thirty-six percent, showing increases in construction and agricultural jobs.

 

Dr. Leopold Perriott

“Unfortunately, I rather suspect that in construction the jobs they are fairly low-paying kinds of jobs, really nitty-gritty, grungy work.  I rather suspect the same would be true for the fisheries or for the shrimp.”

 

Reporter

“But it’s kind of hard to study engineering and that sort of thing.”

 

Dr. Leopold Perriott

“Well, I don’t know if they studied engineering.  There’s a certain manufacturing thing but the sector is so small that you can’t really absorb very many brew masters, you know. I would like to point out on a whole that the educational levels for people who are actually employed are fairly low.  It’s fairly low to start off with, it’s primary school for almost sixty percent of the employed.”

 

Ethnically, Garifuna workers continue to experience the highest rate of unemployment, even though their rate fell by as much as four percentage points from 2013.  Creole workers are close behind at sixteen percent.  Maya workers, on the other hand, recorded the lowest unemployment rate and four and a half percent. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “Joblessness decreased in the City, but increased in the districts”

  1. Rod says:

    Like everything else in this country with this pm and gov. Everything is going backwards and down the drain when will you belizeans get enough of this useless corrupt pm and gov. Lard have mercy.

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