Poll finds one in ten voters lost their jobs last year

More than one in ten registered voters lost a job in the past 12 months, according to a new poll.

The Opposition yesterday repeated its call for up-to-date employment figures, claiming more people are hurting in the economic crisis than Government has made out.

Twelve percent of 402 residents told the Mindmaps survey they became unemployed in the past year, with three quarters of those saying they hadn’t found work since.

If that proportion is replicated for Bermuda’s 40,000-plus total voting population, well over 4,000 people lost their job, with only 1,000 of those finding work again.

The Opposition pointed out these numbers are on top of any expatriates who have been made redundant.

Three months ago, Bermuda Employers’ Council estimated the Island had lost up to 3,000 jobs since 2009 and predicted that number would continue to grow.

BEC and the Opposition has repeatedly claimed it would be easy to get employment figures from social insurance information, but Government has said it’s awaiting the results of the 2010 Census.

According to the poll, blacks were twice as likely as whites to be made redundant, with 16 percent of blacks reporting they’d lost their job, compared with eight percent of whites.

Six people said they’d lost jobs in banking, another six in retail, and five each in the legal industry and service industry.

The survey showed just five percent of people had confidence in the direction of Bermuda’s economy, with 64 percent saying they weren’t confident.

United Bermuda Party leader Kim Swan told The Royal Gazette: “Unfortunately, Premier Cox’s shortcomings as Finance Minister are directly responsible for a great deal of the problems we are experiencing economically in Bermuda.

“The tough decisions that Premier Cox failed to make have prevented Government from having the necessary financial reserves to withstand these economic hard times.

“Our Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz questioned employment numbers but Government deliberately ignored them.

“These polls confirm what my colleague was concerned about but Government often tried to paint a rosy picture instead of the true picture.

“Government buried their head in the sand and now unemployment is at a unacceptable level and many persons are finding it difficult to get re-employed.

“The knock-on effects are increasing reports of foreclosures on properties and chattels on taxis which is a sad state for many families in Bermuda.”

Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards said: “The upward trend in job losses is very concerning indeed.

“It’s hitting home for the Bermudian public that we are in quite a bit of trouble. There’s serious trouble here, the kind of trouble we’ve been referring to for quite some time.

“There’s been no plan from the Government to say how they can correct this problem. It was just platitudes from Paula Cox in her last Budget.”

Bermuda Democratic Alliance finance spokesman Michael Fahy said: “These figures tie in with Paula Cox’s popularity declining, as people start to recognise that she has been at the helm throughout the whole debacle of the economy as Minister of Finance.

“What’s of particular note is the majority of people are not confident in the direction the economy is heading. It’s showing that the PLP’s game of trying to indicate that this is a new administration is not going to work.

“We need to analyse those areas where we can increase business, and increase the number of people that are job creators.”

The Progressive Labour Party and Ms Cox’s press secretary did not respond to requests for comment.

Useful websites: www.ubp.bm, www.thealliance.bm.

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Published Apr 18, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 18, 2011 at 8:46 am)

Poll finds one in ten voters lost their jobs last year

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