Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Oct 24, 2013
After a slight decline last year, the national unemployment rate is now the highest it has been in at least 10 years, according to figures from the Department of Statistics. Those figures show that the jobless rate jumped to 16.2 percent from 14 percent.
The data is contained in the 2013 Labour Force Survey, which was conducted in May with a reference period of April 29 to May 5, 2013. The information was released yesterday.
During the period of 2002 to 2012, the country’s highest unemployment rate was seen in 2011 at 15.9 percent, according to records from the Department of Statistics.
The latest numbers show that the unemployment rate on New Providence rose to 15.9 percent from 13.1 percent, and the rate on Grand Bahama jumped to 19.5 percent from 18 percent.
The survey shows a 3.1 percent increase in the labor force since the last survey conducted in November of 2012.
The labor force totaled 195,660 people at the time of the most recent survey.
The data reveals that at the time the survey was conducted, 31,665 people who are a part of the national labor force were out of work.
However, the Department of Statistics said the unemployment rate is higher because of a 33 percent decline in discouraged workers.
This category consists of people who are willing and able to work but did not seek employment because they are so discouraged they have given up looking.
“As a result of increased prospective business projects, more persons are optimistic about finding jobs and consequently rejoined the labor force,” the department said.
“In view of the fact that this category of persons has rejoined the labor force the number of unemployed persons increased, resulting in a higher unemployment rate.”
The statement said the number of discouraged workers declined 26 percent in New Providence and 47 percent in Grand Bahama.
The figures show that job prospects for young Bahamians are still weak.
Unemployment among youths (people 15 to 24) rose to 30.8 from 30.7 percent with the youth jobless rate for residents of New Providence and Grand Bahama “considerably higher than any other age group,” the statement said.
On New Providence, out of a labor force of 145,335 people, 23,180 were recorded as unemployed.
Of that figure 11,800 are women and 11,380 are men.
Grand Bahama’s labor force consists of 25,115 people with 4,900 unemployed. There were 2,635 unemployed women and 2,265 unemployed men in Grand Bahama’s labor force.
Earlier this year, the department released figures which showed that the unemployment rate fell slightly from 14.7 percent to 14 percent in late 2012.
This previous labor force study was released in February and was conducted from October 29 to November 4, 2012. It showed that 165,255 were listed as employed and 26,950 were listed as unemployed.
The previous study revealed that the unemployment rate in The Bahamas decreased slightly from 14.7 percent to 14 percent in November 2012.
Unemployment on Grand Bahama increased from 17.3 percent to 18 percent in that survey.
The previous survey found that unemployment on New Providence decreased from 14 percent to 13.1 percent.
Additionally, discouraged workers decreased by eight percent nationally in the previous survey.