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Job losses to continue, Riley claims

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Another 2,400 jobs will be lost by the end of this year, according to research firm Profile of Bermuda.

Only two sectors — electricity, gas and water, and education, health and social work — are predicted to show any job growth.

Profiles of Bermuda, managed by statistician Cordell Riley, used jobs data from the period 1978 to 2012, and statistical modelling, for his predictions.

Published payroll tax takings, which were $96 million in the second quarter of this year, up 1.3 percent from the same period last year, do not appear to indicate significant job losses in the first half of 2013.

The Ministry of Finance also revealed earlier this week that there had been 226 new Bermudian hires since Government initiated its two-year payroll tax holiday for such hiring. However, Government expects no economic growth before next year.

Mr Riley said: “The current forecasted job losses, if they actually pan out, would indicate that the five-year recession has not yet run its course and will continue into 2014.

“The most significant job losses are expected to occur in the construction sector where one quarter of jobs, or nearly 600, could be gone by the end of the year.

“The international company sector could lose nearly 500 jobs, or 12.1 percent of its workforce.

“Business services, which act as support to the international sector, could suffer a ten percent decline, or nearly 400 jobs.”

Mr Riley agreed that the winding down of the project to construct a new Acute Care wing at the hospital and the Waterloo House project could account for the sharp decline in construction sector jobs.

But 2014 could also see significant job losses in the sector if other planned projects such as the St Regis Hotel, Hamilton Princess, Pink Beach Hotel and the waterfront redevelopment don't break ground any time soon.

Mr Riley predicts a 138-job decline in the public administration workforce. He told The Royal Gazette that the underlying trend showed a slight increase in jobs in the sector but he took into account Government's commitment to reduce the size of the Civil Service and the SAGE Commission recommendation not to fill current vacancies — estimated at more than 500 jobs.

“Not filling the 500 vacancies will only ensure a decrease,” Mr Riley said.

“In reality some of those jobs will have to be filled since they are likely to be critical to the running of Government.

“For instance if you had a statistical officer post vacant, which is required for pricing the Consumer Price Index, the likelihood is that you would replace that person.”

Government and the Opposition Progressive Labour Party had not responded to requests for comment by press time last night.

Unemployment problem: Another 2,400 jobs will be lost by the end of this year, according to statistician Cordell Riley (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Statistician Cordell Riley

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Published August 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm (Updated August 21, 2013 at 10:14 am)

Job losses to continue, Riley claims

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