Labour force out­look seems pos­i­tive

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Dr An­dré Haughton is a lec­turer in the De­part­ment of Eco­nom­ics on the Mona cam­pus of the Univer­sity of the West Indies. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @DrAn­dreHaughton; or email feed­back to edi­to­rial@glean­erjm.com.

MOODY’S IN­VESTORS Ser­vices has up­graded Ja­maica’s credit rat­ing from a Caa2 rat­ing to a B3 rat­ing. This is a pos­i­tive en­cour­age­ment to the coun­try’s in­creased ef­forts to im­prove fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion and other re­forms that are be­ing im­ple­mented to strengthen the ro­bust­ness of the econ­omy. Moody’s gave the up­grade af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion; Ja­maica’s score re­mains in the B3 cat­e­gory be­cause of the na­tion’s high debt, high in­ter­est pay­ments and sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to ex­ter­nal shocks. The up­graded rat­ing will pro­vide pos­i­tive good­will to in­crease the coun­try’s abil­ity to ac­cess credit and the in­ter­na­tional lend­ing market. Eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity has been in­creas­ing as well; the over­all un­em­ploy­ment rate has fallen by 0.4 per cent, but re­mains high at 12. 9 per cent and the job-seek­ing rate fell by 0.3 per cent.

HOW IS THE CHANGE IN EM­PLOY­MENT DIS­TRIB­UTED AMONG IN­DUS­TRIES?

The Sta­tis­ti­cal In­sti­tute of Ja­maica (STATIN) has in­di­cated that from Jan­uary to the end of the July quar­ter 2016, 9,400 more peo­ple have been em­ployed to the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, 10,200 more peo­ple to the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, 12,100 more to the ho­tel and restau­rants in­dus­try, 15,500 more to the real es­tate rent­ing and

and busi­ness ac­tiv­ity, and 4,000 more peo­ple to the pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and de­fence; com­pul­sory so­cial se­cu­rity in­dus­try group. Notwith­stand­ing this, 7,200 fewer peo­ple are em­ployed to the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor, 5,900 fewer peo­ple are em­ployed to the health and so­cial works sec­tor, 5,800 fewer peo­ple are em­ployed to the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, and 1,700 fewer peo­ple are em­ployed to the min­ing and quar­ry­ing in­dus­try. The em­ployed plus the un­em­ployed who are ac­tively seek­ing jobs com­bine to form the labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate.

HOW HAS THE LABOUR FORCE PAR­TIC­I­PA­TION CHANGED SINCE THE START OF THE YEAR?

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est labour force sur­vey is­sued by STATIN, the to­tal labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate has in­creased marginally by al­most one per cent from 64.3 in Jan­uary to 65.2 as of the end of Septem­ber 2016.

Over this pe­riod, the to­tal male labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate has in­creased by 0.5 per cent. More young men ages 14 to 19 are ac­tively em­ployed or seek­ing em­ploy­ment as the labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate in­creased by 1.9 per cent from 12.5 per cent to 14.4 per cent. Young peo­ple should be pro­vided with a plat­form to en­cour­age them to fur­ther in­crease their ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to en­hance the use­ful­ness of their labour over the long run. The labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for young adult men be­tween the ages of 20 and 24 de­creased marginally from 73.6 per cent to 73.4 per cent. The labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for men be­tween the ages of 25 and 34 in­creased marginally by 0.8 per cent from the start of the year to the end of Septem­ber 2016. The rate for men be­tween 45 and 54, how­ever,

fell by 1.6 per cent, while the re­tired labour force for the 65 and over age group has de­creased by 0.5 per cent.

WHAT ABOUT THE FE­MALE LABOUR FORCE?

To­tal fe­male labour force has in­creased from 57.8 to 59.2 per cent. The labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for fe­males be­tween the ages of 14 and 19 in­creased by 0.2 per cent, the same prin­ci­ples that ap­ply to the men, ap­plies to the women; they should be en­cour­aged to in­crease their ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing. For fe­males be­tween the ages of 25 to 34, the par­tic­i­pa­tion rate in­creased by 0.8 per cent. For those be­tween the ages of 35 to 44, the labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate in­creased by 2.5 per cent while in­creas­ing by 1.4 per cent for those be­tween five and 54 years old. The fe­male re­tired labour force for the 65 and over age group has in­creased by 2.2 per cent. To­tal labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate has in­creased marginally by al­most one per cent from 64.3 in Jan­uary to 65.2 as of the end of Septem­ber 2016. Over this pe­riod, the to­tal male labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate has in­creased by 0.5 per cent. More young men from age 14 to 19 are ac­tively em­ployed or seek­ing em­ploy­ment as the labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate in­creased from 12.5 per cent to 14.4 per cent. Young peo­ple should be pro­vided with a plat­form to en­cour­age them to fur­ther in­crease their ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to in­crease the use­ful­ness of their labour over the long run. Labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for young adults be­tween 20 and 24 de­creased marginally from 73.6 per cent to 73.4 per cent. The par­tic­i­pa­tion rate for men be­tween the ages of 25 to 34 in­creased from 90.8 per cent at the start of the year to 91.6 per cent at the end of the Septem­ber quar­ter. The rate for men be­tween 45 and 54, how­ever, fell by 1.6 per cent.

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