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Budget: IB jobs grow as overall employment in Bermuda fell

Employment levels fell by 3.9 per cent in 2021 - but the number of international business jobs have grown. (Stock image)

Employment opportunities in international business have grown in the past year as overall employment levels fell by 3.9 per cent.

David Burt, the Premier, said in his Budget Statement that the number of people employed in IB had risen from 4,240 to 4,411 between 2020 and 2021 and the number of international businesses registered on the island continued to rise.

Mr Burt said: “2021 saw a 27.4 per cent increase in new registrations, with 934 new companies arriving on our shores, and a 4 per cent increase in jobs, or 171 new posts.

“I am happy to report that last year there were more positions added for Bermudians than for guest workers, proving that the balanced policies of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party can grow international business while Bermudians benefit.

“It is also important to note that since 2019, jobs in international business have consistently increased, with 391 additional posts added to our economy, representing a growth of 10 per cent.”

However, he added that employment levels on the island had fallen by 3.9 per cent, with the number of jobs dropping from 32,427 in 2020 to 31,250 in 2021.

Bermudian employment levels fell by 3.4 per cent, non-Bermudian employment dropped by 4.1 per cent and employment for spouses of Bermudians decreased by 4.9 per cent.

Mr Burt noted that the number of people employed by the banking and financial sector had fallen by 322 since 2017 – a 14.1 per cent decline – and that 696 jobs in the hotel and food service industries were lost last year.

He said: “The early indications of recovery are encouraging and signify a return of confidence in the economy.

“However, with lagging recovery in employment levels, this government recognises that more must be done.

“The Government remains focused on implementing Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan and executing initiatives contained in the plan such as the National Jobs and Youth Employment Strategy, designed to get Bermudians back to work.”

Mr Burt said the tourism industry had begun to show signs of growth as Covid-19 travel restrictions have been rolled back internationally, and further development in the sector was vital to create new jobs.

He said: “This government delivered on increasing the number of jobs in the Bermudian economy in 2018 and 2019.

“However, the impact of the pandemic on the labour market has been severe, resulting in job losses across most industrial sectors over the last two years.

“The return to pre-pandemic job levels will heavily depend on the success and recovery of Bermuda’s tourism industry.”

He added that positive signs had been seen in the construction sector.

Mr Burt said the number of planning applications filed had risen from 402 in 2020 to 668 in 2021, while the value of new construction projects had risen from $47.1 million in the first three quarters of 2020 to $57.5 million in the same period of 2021.

He added that headline inflation “remains low” with an average inflation rate of 1.5 per cent and the island’s quarterly gross domestic product was estimated to have grown between 3 and 5 per cent last year.

Mr Burt said: “Positive economic performance was fuelled by new international business registrations, visitor spending, greater levels of household consumption and increased construction activity, indicating a gradual shift towards economic recovery.

“While we are seeing the early stages of economic growth, the Government recognises this increase in GDP is not being felt by all segments of society and therefore understands more must be done.”

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Published February 26, 2022 at 8:01 am (Updated February 26, 2022 at 8:01 am)

Budget: IB jobs grow as overall employment in Bermuda fell

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