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More working in Civil Service than IB - report

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There were more people employed in Government than international business last year according to new statistics, reversing the recent trend in Bermuda.

Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards said the news proves Government's policies have been “job killers” and made international business workers feel unwelcome. The Bermuda Job Market Employment briefs, released by the Department of Statistics yesterday, showed the economy shed 1,423 jobs in 2010.

Figures dating back to 2006 show there have always been more workers employed in international business than public administration until last year.

Back in 2008, during an employment peak in Bermuda, there were 4,223 public sector admin jobs and 4,761 in international business. Now, however, there are 4,296 jobs in the public sector nine more than the 4,287 posts in international business.

The survey showed the total number of jobs across all sectors held by Bermudians declined by 542 jobs, while positions filled by non-Bermudians and non-Bermudian spouses of Bermudians decreased by 867 and 13, respectively.

It also showed more Government jobs than international business positions.

Commenting on the survey, Mr Richards, of the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA), said: “This is conclusive evidence of what we have been saying all along the PLP policies have been job killers. Here we have evidence that jobs are still being shed. The outside world seems to have stabilised and we are going down.

“The policies have been job killers for Bermudians and non-Bermudians. The OBA views those non-Bermudians, particularly international business workers, as customers and we are losing customers.”

He said he felt the reasons for the decline in that sector were businesses downsizing due to the economic climate, but also sending their workers elsewhere due to immigration red tape in Bermuda.

“There are fewer people working in international business now than Government, and Government gets its money from international business,” he said.

The breakdown of filled jobs by race reflected a loss of 595 jobs held by blacks, 670 by whites, and 158 by workers of mixed or other races. The survey also showed that Bermudians earned less on average than expatriates. The median annual income for jobholders was calculated as $55,264 for Bermudians, $58,708 for Permanent Resident Certificate holders, $67,091 for spouses of Bermudians and $69,738 for other non-Bermudians.

The major job losses came in construction, which lost 446 positions, representing a 14.7 percent drop to a total of 3,042 jobs. Jobs in the hotel industry also continued to decline, shifting down from 2,719 in 2009 to 2,432 in 2010.

Men were harder hit than women, as the 1,017 lost jobs that were held by males were more than double the 406 posts lost by females.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Kim Wilson said, “I want to remind residents that on numerous occasions, and over the course of the past several months, Government has referenced the National Economic Report, which showed preliminary data from the 2010 Economic Survey. It should be noted that in the National Economic Report, the preliminary data indicates that the total number of jobs in Bermuda decreased by 1,425 from 39,520 in 2009 to 38,095 in 2010, marking a decline of 3.6 percent.

“So the numbers as referenced in today's Department of Statistics report are somewhat expected. The public will recall that, as we were keen to further our understanding of the true workforce picture, we advanced a process of information gathering and launched the unemployment registration drive which was hugely helpful in providing data with respect to the educational backgrounds and the skill levels of the unemployed so that efforts could be redirected and/or more tailored to meet the needs of the various groups.

“That said, we have used all of the information gathered for the basis of planning several back-to-work and job-ready initiatives.”

She encouraged unemployed residents to register with the Department of Labour and Training, make applications for available jobs for which they are suitably skilled, consider entrepreneurial pursuits and take advantage of training and retraining programmes.

She said Government continues to work hard at stimulating the economy via incentives for employers, retraining and support programmes and work permit moratoriums in certain job categories.

“These efforts, as the public has seen are bearing fruit and we have seen some success in getting people back to work,” she said.

Giving his views on the statistics, Government race relations consultant Rolfe Commissiong said: “The continued declines in construction and in the hotel industry, while not surprising, should give us pause as it affects the most vulnerable in terms of income within our society.

“Moving forward, we need to continue to seek avenues to grow our economy as that is the only real way out of the contraction. But we also have to fight for and protect Bermudian jobs right now, notwithstanding the real value that many expatriates have brought to the table. The expatriates among us can and will go home but the Bermudian unemployed are with us and have nowhere to go. They must be our priority in this economic climate.”

He added: “We also need to work on increasing our global competitiveness through retraining such as [through] the Job Corps programme which is being implemented, and by using the opportunity presented by the slowdown to continue to enhance our education system in a way that will better prepare Bermuda's workforce by aligning education and training with the real world economy.

“This is a must in order to better position our people to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves when growth resumes.”

Bermuda Employers' Council president Keith Jensen said the statistics underscored the country's overall economic decline, with different impacts in different sectors. “It shows an accelerating decline from 2008 to 2009 and then it's accelerated from 2009 to 2010.”

He said 40 percent of job losses from 2009 to 2010 involved senior officials, managers, professionals and technical and support staff.

“This group is among the highest paid which means that the economic impact has been quite great in terms of business activity and revenue to Government.”

Mr Jensen added: “We have to remember that these statistics relate to a year ago and that there needs to be a continued drive to create jobs and attract international business.

“Hopefully there has been increasing activity among small businesses to help arrest the decline.”

Clocking out: Bermuda's economy shed 1,423 jobs in 2010, according to data released by Government yesterday. The number of jobs held by Bermudians declined by 542 jobs, while positions filled by non-Bermudians and non-Bermudian spouses of Bermudians decreased by 867 and 13, respectively. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Bob Richards(Photo by Akil Simmons) August 16,2011

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Published August 31, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated August 31, 2011 at 10:17 am)

More working in Civil Service than IB - report

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