IMF resident representative, local business leaders hail decrease in unemployment figures

International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative, Dr Constant Lonkeng Ngouana says the reduction in Jamaica’s unemployment rate to 7.8 per cent is a “tremendous achievement”.

Noting that the rate was approximately 16.3 per cent at the start of Jamaica’s current engagement with the organisation in May 2013, Dr Longkeng contends that “more than halving this in six years is very significant”.

He was commenting on the results of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (statin) April 2019 Labour Force Survey, which were outlined during the agency’s recent quarterly briefing at Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Statin reports that the 7.8 per cent out-turn is two percentage points lower than the 9.8 per cent recorded for the corresponding period last year, and 0.2 per cent lower than the January 2019 out-turn.

The number of unemployed people as at April fell by 25,900, or 19.7 per cent, to 105,900 relative to 2018.

Correspondingly, the overall employed labour force increased by 29,900 people or 2.5 per cent to 1,244,500, with the total labour force rising to 1,349,900 people, some 4,000 more than 2018.

Dr Ngouana Lonkeng argues that the level of reduction in unemployment recorded thus far “is not something that happens very often” in countries experiencing the extent of economic challenges Jamaica faced.