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Employment market shrinks by a record 2,000 jobs

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The Island’s employment market shrunk by more than five percent with a net loss of almost 2,000 jobs last year — the biggest drop in jobs in a single year since figures were first collated 35 years ago.

And the 2012 Employment Survey also highlights strong disparities in salaries, with whites earning on average 50 percent more than blacks, and foreign workers on average earning almost 40 percent more than Bermudians.

The snapshot survey of employers, conducted on behalf of Government’s Department of Statistics at the end of August 2012, shows that there were 1,956 fewer jobs on the island than 12 months earlier, with Bermudian staff accounting for more than half of redundancies.

According to the survey, the economy supported 35,443 jobs last year — down 5.2 percent from 2011, when 37,399 positions were filled.

The statistics do not reveal the total number of jobs that were actually shed during the year because the number of any new positions that were created is not known. But according to Government’s Department of Statistics, Bermudians accounted for 1,055 of the lost positions, while 873 non-Bermudians and 41 spouses of Bermudians were made redundant.

The construction industry was hardest hit by the shrinking economy. The number of jobs in the sector slumped by 11 percent, with the loss of 292 filled jobs between 2011 and 2012.

The number of filled jobs in the international business sector fell from 4,077 in 2011 to 3,867 in 2012, a drop of 210 jobs or five percent, while employment in financial intermediation dropped by 8.7 percent with the loss of 239 jobs.

The retail trade shed 276 jobs, a drop of nine percent, while the business services sector shrunk by 268 jobs, down 7.2 percent.

Employment in hotels was down by 135 jobs or five percent, while bars and restaurants also saw a drop in jobs, down 0.6 percent from 1,970 to 1,957.

And the number of people working in education and health also fell, down 3.7 percent from 3,895 to 3,750.

In total, 15 of the 16 employment sectors listed in the survey saw overall declines in the number of jobs. The one sector that did see an increase was public administration, which provides more jobs than any other sector. The number of people working in the sector rose by 0.3 percent from 4,284 to 4,298.

In an analysis of the data in this month’s edition of The Bermuda Job Market compiled by Government, the authors note: “Since the inception of the Employment Survey in 1978, the single largest decline in the number of jobs in the workplace occurred between 2011 and 2012.

“Employers reported an overall decrease of 1,956 jobs as the job market contracted for the fourth year in succession. There were no notable employment increases in any of the major sectors of the economy.

“The level of jobs filled at 35,443 is the lowest on record since 1998 when there was a reported 35,323 filled jobs in the economy.”

According to the survey, Bermudians earned an average annual salary of $57,144, compared to $72,119 picked up by spouses of Bermudians and $78,881 earned by other non-Bermudians.

And while blacks on average earned $55,517 annually — marginally below the national median of $59,985 — whites on average took home $83,444 — a difference of $27,927 or 50 percent.

Bermuda does continue to buck one global trend according to the report. On average, women earned $60,759 compared to $59,465 for men in 2012.

The survey also contained bad news for those in work. Referring to the average annual salary, the report states: “This level of income represented a one percent increase in earnings compared to the 2011 estimate of $59,364. However, the corresponding inflation rate for the 12-month period was measured at 1.9 percent indicating no real gains in employment earnings.”

Despite the lack of gains in remuneration, employees have been spending more of their time at work. The survey showed that the average length of time spent on the job rose from 35.8 hours a week to 36.1 hours.

Although precise figures for Bermuda’s unemployment rate are not know, it is estimated to be at about ten percent, with youth unemployment as high as 36 percent.

Jobs decline: The figures released yesterday by the Department of Statistics show how the employment market has deteriorated

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Published April 06, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated April 05, 2013 at 11:12 pm)

Employment market shrinks by a record 2,000 jobs

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