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House: jobless figures almost doubled from 2019

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Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour. (File photograph)
Jarion Richardson, Shadow Minister for Labour and Home Affairs (File photograph)

The unemployment rate in Bermuda has almost doubled, the Minister of Labour told MPs last Friday.

Jason Hayward, the labour minister told Jarion Richardson, the shadow minister, that the most recent labour report had still to be released.

He added that “once that is released, the public will be well aware of what the current unemployment rate is”.

But he admitted: “Based on data that I have received within the ministry, the unemployment rate has close to doubled.”

Mr Richardson asked Mr Hayward for the numbers involved.

Mr Hayward said the figures were publicly available.

Mr Hayward was speaking after he gave an update in the House of Assembly on the education, training and employment programmes carried out as part of the Department of Workforce Development’s re-employment strategy.

The Labour Force Survey Report November 2019 said the 2019 unemployment rate was 3.8 per cent or 1,394 people – which would bring the present jobless total up to around the 2,700 mark.

But Mr Hayward told the House: “Despite Bermuda’s workforce continuing to contract, creating increased levels of unemployment for Bermudians, the Government remains committed to ensuring that we prepare Bermudians for job opportunities that exist and to connect them with these jobs where possible.“

Mr Richardson also asked how many Bermudians had been hired as a result of the government’s moratorium on work permits in more job categories.

Mr Hayward did not provide a figure.

He said that 13 new programmes had been developed and that more than 650 people had participated.

He added that about 70 people had gone on to find part- or full-time employment as they completed Government training schemes.

Mr Richardson said that represented a success rate of about 10 per cent and asked Mr Hayward if there was a plan to improve the figures.

But Mr Hayward said 650 people had been given training designed to improve their career prospects, which was a success and highlighted the shrinking job market.

He added that 388 people had “received opportunities” through the Department of Workforce Development’s Bermuda Jobs board referral process since November last year.

Mr Hayward said the re-employment strategy had entered its second phase.

He added: “Phase 2 will focus heavily on industry-driven initiatives that better connect training with employment opportunities for unemployed Bermudians in high demand occupations.”

Mr Hayward said companies had expressed interest in taking on Bermudian trainees as well as tradespeople under the Economic Stimulus Programme jobs programme.

He added the department planned to provide 20 job opportunities as a result of the scheme.

Mr Hayward said that the Government would expand its vocational and technical programme to include short- and long-term certificate programmes.

These will include IT certifications, coding, radiology, elevator mechanics, solar technicians, masonry and automotive engineering.

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Published June 22, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated June 22, 2021 at 7:59 am)

House: jobless figures almost doubled from 2019

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