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Hayward: unemployment rate lowest since 1980

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An unemployment rate of 2.5 per cent was recorded in the latest labour force survey — the lowest in more than 40 years, the Minister of Economy and Labour said yesterday.

Jason Hayward noted that the May 2023 Labour Force Survey compiled by the Department of Statistics indicated that “there has been a positive shift in Bermuda’s labour market”.

He said: “Bermuda’s economic and labour market performance continues to trend in a positive direction.

“It is clear that from the Labour Force Survey data that employment is increasing and so is workers’ income, which is a positive trend that aligns with the strengthening of the Bermudian economy.”

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The report provides a statistical insight into the island’s labour force landscape, including employment and unemployment data related to various demographic groups.

Mr Hayward said the survey covered a range of people “and, as such, estimates obtained are subject to variability”. It targeted people aged over 16.

As of May 2023, he said an estimated 941 people were unemployed, with 568 male and 341 female.

The survey indicated that the island had a 75.2 per cent working population of Bermudians; non-Bermudian workers stood at 24.8 per cent.

Mr Hayward said the island’s employment rate was 81.4 per cent.

He said the latest unemployment figure hovers close to the 2 per cent rate recorded in 1980.

The minister said: “The 16-to-24 age group had the highest unemployment rate of 15 per cent compared with the 34-to-44 age group, which had the lowest unemployment rate at 0.6 per cent.”

Mr Hayward said the numbers also indicated that the unemployment rate of people with high school certificates was “triple that of persons with degrees”.

He said the report did not contain any data for comparison to previous reports.

The minister said this was as a result of “comparability being impacted by the methodological changes and the lack of seasonal judgment”.

Survey highlights

Bermuda’s population 16 years and over

• Comprised 54,474 people at time of survey

• 36,688 made up the working population. Of that figure, 18,517 were males; 18,170 were females

• 941 people were unemployed

• Median gross annual income from main job was $68,826

• Females experienced higher gross annual income than male counterparts

• 27,594 of the working population were Bermudian; 9,094 were non-Bermudian

• Of the working population, 9,922 were Black while 11, 207 were White. A total of 5,559 were mixed/other races

• Population of the 16 to 24 age group in the working population was recorded as 2,028

• A total of 7,849 people made up the 35 to 44 age group

• The 55-to-64 age group of the working population comprised 9,041 people, the highest recorded in the survey when compared with other age groups

Questioned on plans by the Government to address youth unemployment given the latest numbers, Mr Hayward said: “We will work hard to execute on our youth employment strategy.”

He said a feature of the Government’s Workforce Development Strategy was to place children on career pathways before leaving school.

Mr Hayward said: “Part the reform that we are doing with education in terms of building signature schools will ensure that persons have the competencies that they require to succeed in the world of work even prior to graduating high school.”

He said the Government was working on transitioning the National Training Board to the National Certification and Apprenticeship Board.

He added: “We want to increase the amount of apprenticeships offered in the community.

“We also want to ensure we have greater streams of individuals entering the skills trade.”

Mr Hayward said the Government identified jobs which “struggle to be filled by Bermudian employees in what are considered to be lower-skilled service areas that these individuals who do not have degrees can actually succeed in”.

He said scope remained to sharpen the skills of such workers to make them competitive in the workplace.

The unemployment rate in the May 2023 survey indicated a steady decline compared with previous years, according to data compiled by the Department of Statistics.

It showed an upward trend in the island’s employment.

In 2018, the unemployment rate stood at 4.5 per cent while a 76.9 per cent employment rate was logged.

The following year, unemployment slid to 3.8 per cent as employment climbed to 78.7 per cent.

In 2020, a 7.9 per cent unemployment rate was recorded. However, the survey was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the pandemic, coupled with low responses from the public, prevented the Department of Statistics from undertaking a survey.

In 2022, the unemployment figure stood at 3.1 per cent while the employment rate stood at 80.4 per cent.

A total of 1,701 households took part in the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent.

Households were selected based on data from the 2016 Census.

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Published May 03, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated May 03, 2024 at 8:02 am)

Hayward: unemployment rate lowest since 1980

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