More Than 2,000 New Jobs Added But Bahamas Government Says It’s Not Enough to Reduce Unemployment in a Sustained Way

Finance Minister Peter Turnquest says government is focusing is on strengthening and expanding efforts to boost job growth.

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Wednesday January 23, 2019 – Preliminary results from the most recent Labour Force Survey show 2,305 net new jobs were added to the Bahamian economy between May and November last year.

But the Government has acknowledged that the rate of job growth is still not adequate to absorb the number of school leavers entering the labour market each year.

The results of the survey showed a small increase in the overall unemployment rate from 10 per cent to 10.7 per cent in May of 2018. The “net” designation indicates a subtraction of the impact of job losses to the calculation to determine true growth or decline in the employment numbers.

“Overall, we welcome news that the unemployment rate improved in Grand Bahama and Abaco, two of the largest population centres outside of New Providence. The numbers of discouraged workers also decreased, pointing to greater confidence in economic prospects among job seekers. But, our target is a level of growth that will reduce unemployment in a sustained way, and will be felt evenly across the country, so the work must continue and intensify,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

“Our focus is on strengthening and expanding efforts to boost job growth, directly and indirectly, by investing in entrepreneurship, particularly for young Bahamians, as well as human resource development and other ways to stimulate growth in the private sector,” he added. 

The government said it will shortly announce a package of direct financing instruments to get capital into the hands of Bahamian entrepreneurs and small businesses and allow for the creation of jobs and for opportunities for self-employment.

An element of that will be a grant programme targeted specifically at young Bahamians from disadvantaged backgrounds. Those plans will give life to the government’s US$25 million commitment to Bahamian entrepreneurship announced by the Prime Minister last year.

A statement from the Ministry of Finance said the Government’s ongoing initiatives to reinvigorate the Grand Bahama economy through the Commercial Enterprises Act should also serve to accelerate employment gains and bring these numbers down even further. It said the vision of Grand Bahama as the Tech Capital of The Bahamas has already started to take shape, based on the success of the Commercial Enterprises Act so far. Just last week, a new technology company, Dev Digital, software developers, launched in Grand Bahama looking to hire between 15 and 20 people.

Additionally, a number of tourism related projects are geared to come on stream throughout The Bahamas in the medium term – in Abaco, Eleuthera, Long Island, New Providence and elsewhere – that will further generate new permanent high quality jobs and significant entrepreneurial opportunities over the medium term.

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