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2,045 more Belizeans on the unemployment line

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 30, 2016–Belize’s unemployment numbers are up, based on latest information released today by Curwen Arthurs, Statistician I at the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). Arthurs reported that whereas last September reported an unemployment rate of 10.2%, this September recorded an unemployment rate of 11.1%. The jobs created were not enough to meet the rising demand for employment.

This represents a partial reversal of what was reported coming out of the last survey, which recorded a fall in the unemployment rate from 10% in April 2015 to 8% this April, with over 8,700 new jobs added.

According to the SIB, “….in September 2016, there were a total of 17,952 unemployed persons in Belize. This represented an increase of 2,045 in the number of unemployed persons since September of 2015, despite the addition of over 3,800 new jobs during the period…[which was] the result of an influx of persons into the labour force at a faster rate than that at which new jobs were created.”

“All districts saw increases in the number of persons with jobs, except for the Belize and Stann Creek Districts, which both experienced net losses of more than 1,000 jobs since last September,” the SIB said.

Meanwhile, the Cayo District recorded the most gains in employment over the period, adding over 2,200 more jobs, said the report.

Arthurs noted that 59% of the unemployed have been out of a job for about 6 months, but most have not been jobless for more than a year.

The unemployment problem is most acute among youth, women and persons living in urban communities.

Of note is that while the Stann Creek District recorded the highest unemployment rate of 17.7%, attributable to commercial job losses in aquaculture and agriculture, as those sectors continue to be adversely impacted by an economic downturn, the lowest unemployment of 3.4% was recorded in the Toledo District, where rural dwellers pursue more traditional livelihoods.

(We plan to have more details on this, as well as external trade performance and the SIB’s new Business Establishment Survey in next week’s Amandala.)

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