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Getting Bermuda back to a viable economy

As stated in previous articles, in order to have a viable economy our National Workforce (NWF) needs to be at minimum 40,000. Below is a chart comparing the years 2008 when our NWF was over 40,000 and 2010 when it fell below 40,000 and the impact it has had on our economy:

2008 2010 Change National Workforce 40,213* 38,097* -5.3% GDP $6.07 billion $5.46 billion** -10% GDP per Capita $92,693 $85,000 -8% Employed by 4,761 4,287 -10% International Business Jobs filled 27,180 26,247 -3% by Bermudians Work Permit Holders 10,367 9,065 -12% Car sales 1,500+ 1,000 -33% *The total NWF figure is arrived at for:

2008 = 27,180 Bermudians + 10, 367 Permit Holders + 2,666 Spouses of Bermudians & PRCs 2010 = 26,247 Bermudians + 9,065 Permit Holders + 2,785 Spouses of Bermudians & PRCs Spouses of Bermudians and PRCs do not fall into the permit holders or Bermudian category but they are still included in the total NWF figure. **Forecast The following is a comment posted on Bernews in response to our article “Why We Need the Foreign Workforce and Its Effect on GDP” which illustrates how the foreign workforce contributes to Bermuda: March Hare says: I am a guest worker. I have a spouse and one child. Our family spends around 85-90 percent of our income in Bermuda. Here is a list of some of the people I contribute to the salary of: The teachers and staff of the private school I send my child to (they do a great job); The drivers and staff of the buses and ferries (They are, despite bad press, a hugely friendly and welcoming group); Taxi Drivers; Supermarket staff; Belco staff; Digicel Staff; BTC staff; CableVision staff; HSBC staff; Gas station employees; Restaurant staff; Clothing stores staff; the staff of the gymnasium I am a member of; the doctors and nurses and dentists and hygienists my health insurance helps pay for; the staff of BF & M and Colonial through whom I insure my car and home contents; The guys that crew the container ships that bring everything here; Police Officers, Fire Officers, the guys that fix the walls and the roads, and all other public servants my taxes help to provide wages for. Oh and my landlord’s mortgage, sailboat, house in the US, SUV, vacations and general affluent lifestyle. I also work around 30 hours per month voluntarily in the community, for which I receive no pay. I have no criminal record; I pay my bills on time, give to charity and abide by the laws and conventions of Bermuda. I work hard and make money for my employer. I am very easy to get rid of, as all my employer has to do is not reapply for my work permit. No severance pay, no union issues, just an aeroplane ticket. I am not special, there are thousands like me. If I leave, that’s around $150k plus 360 hours community work per annum no longer in the Bermudian economy. If thousands of us leave … well, you do the math. The preceding, both chart and comment, gives us just a small glimpse into the effects that contributions from the foreign workforce have not only on Bermuda’s economy but also directly on the Bermudian. The retail sector will suffer as there will not be the additional need for services mentioned in the comment. This is a gap that tourism cannot fill as they do not have a need for these services. In August 2011 retail sales had been in decline for 41 consecutive months. The funds that were previously paid to the retail sector for the various services are no longer available and businesses have lost that revenue. The Bermudian also suffers as there is no longer a foreigner who is willing to rent the large home and pay the matching rent. The Bermudian now has to deal with an empty home and a mortgage payment that they may not be able to afford. Just as in the retail sector, the foreigner leaves and takes his money with him leaving the Bermudian with lost revenue. The charitable sector also suffers as they have now lost the services of volunteers that they desperately need. It is not only charity that suffers but Bermuda as a whole. These foreigners volunteer their time to charities who offer services to Bermudians who need them. We need to stop vilifying the foreigner as someone who uses Bermuda and then moves on. We must make the foreign workforce feel welcome and comfortable in Bermuda as they contribute to Bermuda in many ways. If we do not make them feel welcome they will go where they feel welcome and take their capital, ideas and contacts with them. With the Bermudian population growth being static and only 27,000 Bermudians in the NWF, there are not enough Bermudians available to fill all of the positions necessary to keep the economy moving. We need the foreign workforce to fill the gap. Until Bermudians understand this vital point, our economy will continue to decline and so will Bermudians’ standard of living. Thank you for your support. This continues to be a collective effort by all Bermudians and we need your continued support, comments and ideas. For further information or to express your comments e-mail us at economy[AT]challengerbanks.bm or visit us on Regeneration of Bermuda’s Economy.

Economic challenge: Sir John Swan