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Govt agencies differ over jobless rate

The overall rate of unemployment stood at 13.2 per cent at the end of last year, according to the Barbados Statistical Services (BSS).

When contacted today, an official of that government department also made it clear their calculation of the jobless rate applied to the period January to December each year.

This follows yesterday’s pronouncements by Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell on the country’s unemployment situation.

When Dr Worrell presented his half-year economic performance report, he told the nation that the average rate of unemployment, over the four quarters ending March, was 11.7 per cent, which is lower than the Statistical Services’ figure, but slightly higher based on the Bank’s comparison of the corresponding period a year earlier.

The financial charts, which accompanied the Governor’s press release, also made reference to the 11.7 per cent average rate of unemployment but applied it to the first two quarters of this year [January to June 2014].

In terms of average unemployment, the BSS information also varied slightly from that of the Central Bank.

The Statistical Service’s figures put the annual average unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2014 [January to March] at 11.6 per cent, compared to the Bank’s average of 11.7 per cent.

Asked to explain the drop in unemployment figures given that thousands of public servants were recently retrenched, the official explained that persons were only considered unemployed if they were looking for work, willing to work or available for work.He also pointed out that there had been an increase in “inactive” persons going home.  These, he noted, were retirees who did not fit the description of unemployed.

“The total number of “inactive” persons totaled 71,300, [or] 5,100 more than the figure of 66,700 recorded during the corresponding period of 2012,” revealed the Annual Continuous Household Labour Force Survey for 2013.

That survey also found that the actual number of unemployed people totaled 16,600 or 200 more than the figure recorded during the same time in 2012.


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