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PM promises boost in jobs

Christie says economy has ‘turned the corner’
Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 29, 2013

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Prime Minister Perry Christie foreshadowed yesterday that The Bahamas is on the cusp of a boost in employment, and said the ailing economy has “turned the corner”.

Christie’s comments came as the government signed an agreement for a $90 million expansion of Club Med resort in San Salvador.

He said the expansion is just the beginning of a projected employment boost.

"Today's event marks yet another major initiative and advance in my government's commitment to the Bahamian economy, to create sustainable jobs, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities," he said.

"There is more to come in further resort development now being planned as we implement initiatives to reduce the cost of electricity, modernize infrastructure, improve healthcare, social education and security services, expand agriculture and fisheries, create new industries and embrace emerging opportunities."

Christie also said the government is encouraged by the recent unemployment figures pointing to a decrease in discouraged workers.

“I want [you] to know that the unemployment statistics from our point of view [are] encouraging because a significant number of discouraged workers are now joining the ranks of those who believe they could get a job,” he said.

“They are right. We have every indication that things are happening.

“I am very much encouraged that we have turned a corner and that there is every reason for a positive outlook.”

The latest figures from the Labour Force Survey revealed the national unemployment rate jumped to 16.2 percent from 14 percent.

The department said while there was an increase in employed people, the number of unemployed people is greater.

The department said unemployment 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.

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said the higher unemployment figures highlight the government’s “failure” to create the 10,000 jobs in the first year that were promised on the 2012 election trail.

The Labour Force Survey was conducted in May with a reference period of April 29 to May 5, 2013.

During the signing of the heads of agreement yesterday, Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip Brave Davis said the initial phase of construction is expected to create an immediate 130 jobs on the island.

Over the four-year construction period, Christie said, 335 jobs will be created as a result of the expansion.

“We are now about to usher in a new period of further and deepened prosperity for this island and this part of The Bahamas at a time when unemployment statistics communicate itself in a way that people do not see the future, but they allow themselves to be influenced by what has passed,” Christie said.

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