by Marlon Madden
The unemployment rate in Barbados continues to decline, reaching an estimated 10.9 per cent at the end of the last quarter of 2021.
According to the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) Continuous Household Labour Force Sample, the number of unemployed people in Barbados stood at 14,400 at the end of last year, and the number of people employed was estimated at 118,400.
“As a result, the total labour force is now estimated to be 132,800 persons,” said the report.Unemployed individuals are those who are without paid employment during the review period and are currently available for paid employment and have been seeking such.
People on lay-offs or waiting to begin a new job are also classified as unemployed. The unemployment rate for males stood at 11.4 per cent and for females, the unemployment rate was 10.2 per cent.
The labour force participation rate for October to December 2021 was estimated at 61.3 per cent, a 1.2 percentage points less than the 62.5 per cent participation rate recorded for the fourth quarter
a year prior.
The unemployment figure for the July to September quarter last year was estimated at 12.4 per cent or a total of 16,800 people. This was down from the 15.9 per cent estimated unemployment rate for the April to June period last year. The unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of last year was also 2.7 percentage point less than the rate of 13.6 per cent recorded for the corresponding period in 2020.
The latest labour force survey showed that wholesale and retail trade continues to be the industry accounting for the majority of employment with some 18,100 people. This represents a 1,200 increase from the previous quarter.
However, it was administrative and support services that saw the biggest jump in employment during the quarter, going from 7,400 people at the end of September to 10,800 at the end of December.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing also recorded a major increase in employment when compared to the previous quarter, with the addition of 2,300 people to reach 4,400 at the end of the review period.
There were minor increases in some areas including construction mining and quarrying; electric, gas, steam, water and air conditioning supply; professional, scientific and technical services; and public administration and defence.
The largest decline in employment came in transportation and storage, which went from 7,100 in the third quarter of last year, to 4,600 at the end of the fourth quarter.
There were moderate declines in employment in the areas of human health and social work, education, accommodation and food services, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.
According to the data, the 20 to 44 age group made up the bulk of the employed labour force in Barbados for the October to December quarter with 59,600 people. This is followed by the 45 to 64 age group with 52,800. The 65 years and older age group makes up 4,800 of the labour force while the 15 to 19 age group accounts for a smaller portion of just 1,200.
In relation to the unemployed labour force age group for the review period, those 20 years to 44 years represented 8,500 people, the 45 to 64 age group accounted for 3,800 people while the 15 to 19 age group represents 1,500 people and those 65 years and over were only about 600.
During the fourth quarter of last year the private sector accounted for majority of employment (72,900), followed by government at 23,000. There were 21,600 people who were considered self-employed while there were 700 employers and 200 people who identified under the category of other.