Jamaica’s job market on the rebound

The Jamaican job market has been showing signs of recovery, with the unemployment rate dipping into single digits in January 2021.

According to data released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) the unemployment rate fell to 8.9% in January 2021, as an additional 40,000 people now have jobs, when compared to October last year.

“When we look at households, a little over half of the households in Jamaica experienced a decrease in their income since March 2020; so this is about, 488,000 households. When we looked at the individuals, approximately 46.2% of employed persons indicated that since March 2020, they have experienced either a complete or a partial loss of income from employment,” said Statin’s Director General, Carol Coy.

Coy further pointed out that when compared to the previous October labour force survey, which recorded an unemployment rate of 10.7 per cent, the new figures were an improvement. Still, not near pre-pandemic levels.

Despite the marginal improvement, the pandemic continues to affect employment negatively, impacting men and those in the service sector more than others.

“In January 2021, the unemployment rate for males increased by 1.6 percentage points to 7.6 per cent, while for females the rate increased by 1.4 percentage points to 10.4 per cent, when compared to January 2020,” Coy said at Statin’s quarterly briefing.

“The number of unemployed males was 53,600, an increase of 23.5 per cent. In comparison, the number of unemployed females increased by 9.6 per cent or 5,500 to 62,500 persons,” she added.

Jamaica’s economy contracted by 8.3 per cent for the October to December 2020 quarter.