Unemployment in SVG to rise in coming years
December 17, 2013
Unemployment in SVG to rise in coming years

Unemployment in St Vincent and the Grenadines is likely to rise in the coming years.{{more}}

Reynold Simons, a senior specialist from the International Labour Organization (ILO), shared this opinion last Friday, while addressing a gathering, about the recent employment trends and challenges in this country.

“As a result of the weakness of employment growth, it is understandable that your unemployment will rise, because you keep getting people in the labour force, you keep getting young people into the labour force. Considering the figures that we have, we would expect unemployment to go even higher,” Simons said.

According to his report, while the 1990 – 2000 period saw a lot of economic growth, it was characterized by slow employment growth.

Furthermore, a chart illustrated that there was negative growth rate for employment in the 2009-2012 period, which was also the time of the global economic crisis.

The specialist also reported that while several sectors were doing well in providing jobs, others were decreasing in their ability to do so.

“While the private sector is steadily growing, we also see that the government is also steadily growing,” Simons revealed.

“The private sector is by far…the majority of jobs in the country, which is understandable. But you see, over time, the public sector has slowly been increasing, which is not so strange, because apart from the need for more people in government, in most economies where you see that employment growth is stagnating or slow, you will find that the government steps in as a provider of employment”.

In a chart, which was presented at the meeting, the sectors where the availability of jobs has dwindled include agriculture, trade, goods production and education. Job availability in real estate has grown significantly, while public administration has stayed the same.

A presentation was also given on “other” areas where jobs are available.

“We find a high level of ‘other’ which makes it difficult to interpret…but I guess this is most likely not classifiable types of elements in the survey or census which includes the unknowns,” the specialist said. “This, of course, gives some trouble with the analysis because, depending on how these are distributed, the picture can change; so all these drops you see, if this is allocated over them, we don’t know what is going to happen”.

Simons also noted other employment trends in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

He noted that while the number of paid employed persons is increasing, the number of self-employed persons has remained consistent, only showing a slight drop in the 2001-2008 period.

The specialist indicated that it is customary for persons to create employment for themselves, once they begin to notice persistence in unemployment.

“If you have persistent long-term unemployment in the economy, then people start to do their own thing. The informal sector starts to build up because people are not waiting on an employer or government to give them work,” he explained.

The data that was presented by Simons during the meeting was sourced from the 1991 and 2001 census, as well as the recent Country Poverty Assessment survey.