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Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (CMC photo)

Jamaica: PM says employment near full

August 17, 2023

CMC -Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says Jamaica is close to full employment as the country recorded a record-low unemployment level of 4.5 per cent.

In a statement Wednesday, Prime Minister Holness described as “welcomed news’ the report by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) that the out-turn, based on the April 2023 Labour Force Survey, is 1.5 percentage points lower than the figure for the corresponding period in 2022.

“We are now close to full employment… [and] that our economy continues to expand,” Holness said, adding “but what it really means is that more Jamaicans have income.

“It means that more Jamaican families can do much better than they were doing before,” said Holness, who is also the Minister of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

“This is the best news that our economy can have…we are building Jamaica”.

Speaking at STATIN’s quarterly digital media briefing on Tuesday, Director General, Carol Coy, said that the number of unemployed persons in April this year fell by 19,700, or 24.3 per cent, to 61,300, compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

She noted that the number of unemployed males fell by 8,900, or 26.3 per cent, to 24,900, while the corresponding out-turn for females dropped from 47,200 last year to 36,400 in April.

The number of unemployed youth, aged 14 to 24, was 24,600, a decrease of 6,800 or 21.7 per cent.

The number of employed persons increased by 43,300 to 1,312,600.

“Females accounted for over two-thirds of this increase. Employed females grew by 5.1 per cent or 29,700, while employed males increased by two per cent or 13,600,”  Coy said.

STATIN also advised that there was increased employment in all age groups.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Aubyn Hill, says the authorities are seeking to remove barriers to get small businesses to increase exports.

Hill, said the Ministry has several programmes designed to assist small business operators to export their goods and services.

“Some of those barriers are, frankly, financial barriers, so we developed a programme in the ministry called the Productive Inputs Relief (PIR),” he added.

The PIR scheme facilitates duty-free importation of specific items intended for productive use.

Through the PIR system, the Government has targeted specific sectors – agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, healthcare, and the creative industries – which are being leveraged to promote and stimulate economic growth.

“We are working to take away all those hurdles if they exist, so we get them to the point of export,” he said.

The PIR is part of the government’s Fiscal Incentive Regime and was introduced in January 2014 to simplify and streamline the process of granting government fiscal incentives to companies and individuals across growth sectors.

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