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Aug 26, 2015

SIB Says Imports Up…Unemployment Down!

The Statistical Institute of Belize held a press conference this morning at the Lecture Hall of the Central Bank Building where the July 2015 External Trade Bulletin, the Consumer Price Index statistics, second quarter GDP figures, as well as the preliminary figures for the April 2015 Labor Force Survey were revealed.  While the primary focus of the briefing was employment, Belize’s external trade bulletin indicates that imports continue to increase steadily, up this year by almost four and half percent since 2014.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has that story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The latest figures released by the Statistical Institute of Belize indicate that the overall number of working persons has grown by at least three thousand, five hundred and fifty-seven from April 2014.  That general improvement is attributed to an increase in the number of women that are employed.

 

Leopold Perriott

Dr. Leopold Perriott, Director General, Labor Force Survey

“The labor force grew very slightly between April 2014 and April 2015, from a hundred and fifty-one thousand, three [hundred and] seventeen persons in 2014 to a hundred and fifty-three thousand six [hundred and] eighty-nine persons in April 2015.  Males constituted sixty-three percent of the labor force and females thirty-nine percent of those numbers.”

 

Across the country, the Orange Walk and Cayo districts recorded the highest gains in employment, while the highest rate of unemployment was recorded in Stann Creek.  The only districts to have recorded decreases in employment were Corozal and Toledo.

 

Dr. Leopold Perriott

“At the education level, primary school or less, education completed – over half of the labor force are at that level.  So, our labor force is a fairly uneducated labor force.  So this to me is a very interesting detail we have there.  Now, so the labor force has two parts, the employed and the unemployed, so let’s look at the employed labor force.  The employed labor force went up slightly from 2014, April 2014 to April 2015; went up by a total of about three thousand, five hundred, something like that to the employed persons, a hundred and thirty-eight thousand, one hundred and forty-five persons in April 2015.  Employed persons by the way, in our definition, are people who are economically active, who work for one hour or more in the reference week.”

 

Of equal interest is the fact that within the Creole community, females are earning slightly more than men.

 

Dr. Leopold Perriott

“The only areas that we have females making more than the males would be in the Creole, the Creole females make more than the Creole males in terms of median salary and also in Stann Creek, that’s the only other area.  All the rest, basically males make a little bit more, fifty dollars, sixty dollars, a hundred dollars more than the females.”

 

Elsewhere in the presentation, external trade statistics for the first half of 2015 were also discussed.

 

Marilyn Pinelo-Lee

Marilyn Pinelo-Lee, Manager, Economic Stats Dept.

“Belize imported goods totaling one point two billion, an increase of fifty point three million or four point four percent from the same period last year.  Major contributors to the change in imports we will see forty-five million less was spent on fuel although importation of diesel, regular and premium increased.  In the machinery and transport equipment category we see it rises by thirty-seven million due to increase purchases of sailboats, airplanes, vehicles and communication equipment.  Imports destined to the commercial free zone grew by twenty million, this is reflected in cigarette and clothing and medical supplies.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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