Jamaica Observer / THE Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), in a release yesterday, said that the declining unemployment rate is at 10.4 per cent, the lowest it has been since October 2008. STATIN, the Government’s statistics agency, said that the youth unemployment rate of 25.4 per cent was also the lowest since January 2008, while female employment continues to increase.

In addition, it noted that at October 2017, most of the persons who gained employment were non-government employees.

According to the information included in the 2017 Labour Force Survey, the number of persons employed in October 2017 was 1,206,800, which was 27,300 (2.3 per cent) more than the 1,179,500, recorded in October 2016. For males, employment had increased by 5,300 (0.8 per cent) between October 2016 (663,600) and October 2017 (668,900), while female employment increased by 22,000 (4.3 per cent) from 515,900 to 537,900 over the same period.

The release said that the unemployment rate for October 2017 was 10.4 per cent, which was 2.4 percentage points lower than the rate of 12.9 per cent for October 2016. This decrease was driven by a larger decline in the female unemployment rate. Male unemployment rate declined by 1.6 percentage points (from 8.9 per cent to 7.3 per cent) and for females the decrease was 3.4 percentage points (from 17.5 per cent to 14.1 per cent).

In the employed labour force, the occupation group ‘Clerks’ increased by 7,900 people (9.4 per cent), from 83,700 in October 2016 to 91,600 in October 2017. Increases in employment were also observed in the groups ‘Skilled Agricultural and Fishery Workers’ and ‘Elementary Occupations’ by 6,200 and 5,200 persons respectively over the same period.

For males, the occupational group ‘Elementary Occupations’ accounted for the largest increase of 5,100 (6.7 percent) over the period, moving from 75,800 in October 2016 to 80,900 in October 2017. For the same period, the largest gain for females (8,800 or 6.5 percent), was in the group ‘Professionals, Senior Officials and Technicians’

The number of persons employed in the group “Health & Social Work” was 32,500, a 28.0 per cent (7,100) increase over October 2016. The industry group “Manufacturing” had the largest increase in the number of males (5,400), moving from 49,200 to 54,600 over the period. For females, the industry group “Health & Social Work” accounted for the largest increase of 8,000 (44.4 percent) over the period, moving from 18,000 in October 2016 to 26,000 in October 2017.

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