The status of the local labour force is to be determined in early 2017. This is to be followed by a poverty related living conditions survey in the same year.
This disclosure was made by Bureau of Statistics, Chief Statistician, Lennox Benjamin, during a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Finance on, May 23, 2016.
According to Benjamin, there has not been a full blown labour force survey for several years, possibility decades.
Unemployment rates or profiles of the country’s economic activities are essentially measured by way of a labour force survey. In the absence of a full-fledged survey the Bureau of Statistics has been relying on approximations, garnered from the National Population and Household surveys.
Benjamin explained the absence of such surveys as being the result of the previous government’s failure to grant permission to proceed, despite the Bureau having, “ done substantial work back in 2008 with the US bureau for census.”
The Chief Statistician said, “…based on the proxies, we know that the unemployment rate has been running at double digital, approximately 11 percent”.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who was also at the press conference opined that the Peoples Progressive Party Civic government was never interested in anyone knowing the official rate of unemployment in the country.
Jordan said that the current administration recognizes the need for such information and, “immediately asked Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for assistance.”
The assistance, which provide for institutional strengthening and capacity building at the Bureau of Statistics, has been approved. It is estimated to cost US$1.5m.
Addressing other matters surrounding the labour force survey, the Chief Statistician explained that the Bureau is not only interested in overall top line indicators, rather it wants to look at age groups, gender profiles, youth unemployment and under-employment.
While the last Population and Housing census was conducted in 2012 most of its findings remain undeclared. The Chief Statistician said that these findings will be released incrementally, beginning as early as this month.