A Brief Look At Unemployment In Jamaica

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Fundamentally, the number of persons actively seeking work but are unemployed is caused by three main factors:

  1. Cyclical factors – including seasonal unemployment, for example, low tourism arrival in a particular season means fewer people are needed to work in the hotel and tourism industry that particular season. When arrival increases, employment increases, and so on.
  2. Frictional factors – where people become unemployed while switching between jobs.
  3. Structural factors – these are innate to the construct of the economy including, technological change for example, rather than fluctuations in supply and demand.

According to STATIN, the unemployment rate increased from 13.6 per cent in January 2014 to 14.2 per cent in January 2015. During this time, unemployment among young people age 20-24 and 25-34 increased from 31.4 to 33 per cent and from 16 to 16.8 per cent, respectively. Unemployment among the older workforce aged 45-54 fell from 7.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent, while unemployment among the 55 to 65 age group almost doubled, increasing from 3.3 to 6.3 per cent. Unemployment among retired people aged 65 and over increased marginally, from 2.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent from January 2014 to this year.

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