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Jan 11, 2023

Statistics Show Unemployment Down to Five Percent in October 2022

The Statistical Institute of Belize’s first report for 2023 takes a look at how the Belizean economy performed, as well as the cost of living, the unemployment rate, and quantity of imports and exports for the first three quarters of 2022. And there is some interesting information that was revealed today. For instance, the unemployment rate, just three months ago, was down to five percent, Belize’s gross domestic product continues to improve, despite inflation due largely to global fuel prices. News Five’s Marion Ali was at the S.I.B.’s first press conference for 2023 and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Belize’s population in October 2022 was estimated at almost four hundred and forty-five thousand. The working age population, comprising of persons fourteen years old and older, was recorded at seventy-three point four percent and the employed were considered to be any of these individuals who worked for a minimum of one hour during the week in which the survey was conducted. S.I.B. statistician, Wendy Benavides, shared how many people were employed and how many weren’t.


Wendy Benavides, Statistician, S.I.B.

Wendy Benavides

“In October 2022, there were one hundred and ninety-one thousand, seven hundred and twenty-eight persons in the labour force or fifty-eight point seven percent of the working-age population. The remaining forty-one point three percent were persons outside the labour force, estimated at one hundred and thirty-four thousand, seven hundred and seventy-five. The estimated number of unemployed persons was nine thousand, six hundred and forty-four, which represented a five percent unemployment rate. Employed persons were estimated at one hundred and eighty-two thousand, and eighty-four persons or ninety-five percent of the labour force.”


A further breakdown of the labour force statistics showed that youths made up forty-three point nine percent of the total number of persons employed, while sixty-four point three percent were adults. Thirty-four point seven percent of these employed persons were young women, but adult men registered the highest employment rate at eighty-one point one percent. The Stann Creek District had the highest unemployment rate at seven point eight percent and Cayo recorded the lowest with three point five percent. But while the statistics show that Belize’s employment rate was at above-average figures, how the country’s economy performed in the third quarter – that is from July to September – was also encouraging, by the figures that Statistician, Christopher Hulse shared.


Christopher Hulse

Christopher Hulse, Statistician, S.I.B.

“From July to September of 2021, the total was one point zero, four, three billion dollars compared to July to September of 2022, goods and services produced totaled one point one, seven, six billion dollars, which is an increase of a hundred and thirty-three point four million dollars, or twelve point eight percent. If we compare the first nine months, since this third quarter ends at September, so from January to September of 2021, compared to January to September of 2022, we observe a twelve point three percent growth.”


The tertiary sector, which comprises services, represents the largest share of the G.D.P from July to September of 2022. That sector contributed seven hundred and thirty-eight point five million dollars, or sixty-two point eight percent. Secondary products, which are bi-products, contributed a hundred and ninety-four point eight million dollars, or sixteen point six percent. And thirdly, the primary or raw products contributed seventy-seven point one million dollars, or six point five percent of G.D.P. Taxes collected also played a role at one hundred and ninety-eight million dollars, or fourteen point one percent. Cost of living for the months January to November of 2022 was, like the previous year, high, mostly because of the price of fuel and its trickling effects on the economy. To help us with those figures was Statistician, Melvin Perez.


Melvin Perez, Statistician, S.I.B.

Melvin Perez

“The cumulative inflation rate for the first eleven months in the year 2022, when compared to the same period of the year 2021 stood at six point two percent. This means that overall, the average cost of regular purchased goods and services increased by six point two percent. It is clearly showing us how prices have been moving throughout the years, specifically starting from November of 2020, where prices started to increase up to November of 2022.  All fuel prices started to increase heavily in the middle of the year 2020 up to November of 2022.”


External trade, that is how much we export and import, is also directly linked to the performance of the economy. And according to Statistician, Stephanie Vasquez, Belize’s imports and exports significantly increased.


Stephanie Vasquez

Stephanie Vasquez, Statistician, S.I.B.

“For the period January to November, 2022, Belize’s imports stood at two point five billion dollars. This represented a significant increase of thirty-two point seven percent or six hundred and seventeen point eight million dollars, when compared to that same period in 2021. This almost one-third increase in import-spending reflected the fact that commodity prices hit record highs in the year 2022, with the cost of food, fuel and fertilizers to name a few, increasing drastically on the world market. Belize’s domestic exports for the period January to November 2022 were valued at four hundred and fifty-eight point eight million dollars, as export earnings increased by a noteworthy fourteen point seven percent or fifty-eight point eight million dollars, when compared to that same period in 2021.”


Vasquez said that Belize’s revenues from exports were higher also because our exports earned better prices on the world market. But earnings from bananas plummeted by ten percent over the 2021 because of diseases and shortage of labour.  Marion Ali for News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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