Jamaica’s annual average unemployment rate now stands at 9.1 per cent, the lowest since 1968.
This represents the average of four reporting quarters across the calendar year January to December 2018.
The improvement comes on the heels of a decrease in the country’s unemployment rate to 8.7 per cent as at October 2018, compared with 10.5 per cent in October 2017.
The findings of the survey, which was undertaken by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), were revealed by Dr Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) on Wednesday at the PIOJ’s quarterly press briefing.
Henry noted that the unemployed labour force amounted to 115,600 persons, 25,000 fewer compared with October 2017.
Meanwhile, the total number of employed persons as at October 2018 stood at 1,219,700, an increase of 14,400 persons relative to October 2017.
An examination of the employed labour force by industry group revealed that eight of the 16 industry groups recorded higher employment levels. Among them were real estate, renting and business activities (up 9,700 persons); hotels and restaurants (up 5,400 persons); other community, social and personal services activities (up 4,700 persons) and mining and quarrying (up 3,500 persons).
On the other hand, the number of Jamaicans in the labour force for October 2018 comprises 1,335,300, a decrease of 10,700 persons compared with October 2017. The result reflects an increase of 10,600 in the number of persons outside the labour force, which outweighed the natural decrease in the working age population by 100 persons.
The main reasons cited for an increase in the number of persons outside the labour force were 6,900 more persons indicated that they ‘”did not want work”; 3,700 more stated that they were staying home with dependents and 1,400 more indicated that they were “at school full-time.”