Caymanian unemployment figures rose
to 9.8 per cent as of October 2009, according to a study released this month by
the government Economic and Statistics Office.
In 2008, Caymanian unemployment was
estimated at 6.6 per cent by the same survey.
Although government officials had
previously quoted unemployment at about six per cent in 2009, that figure was
given for the entire population of the Cayman Islands; approximately 53,000
Unemployment numbers for
expatriates are always very low because those foreigners here on government
contracts or work permits are generally required to leave the Islands if they
lose their jobs.
According to the conclusion in the
statistics office Labour Force Survey, there was an overall decrease in the
population, which “may be due to the economic crisis that resulted in the
transfer/closing of business.”
“This affected the overall labour
force participation with increased unemployment rates,” the study read.
“Caymanians were most affected.”
Overall, there were 2,181
unemployed people in the Cayman Islands, including expatriates. That number
includes individuals who are without a job and who are available for work and
are seeking employment.
“The majority of the unemployed had
high school or lower level education,” the statistics office report stated. “On
a whole, they have been without work for longer than six months and have relied
mainly on financial support from spouse/partners, parents or other relatives
The majority of the unemployed
population in the Cayman Islands comprised of males and those younger than 35.
In previous years, the highest
jobless rate was seen among those aged 15-24, and that did not change in the
2009 labour survey.
However, there were some disturbing
revelations concerning the younger section of the workforce.
“Males and those in the 25 to 34
age group experienced the highest increase in unemployment rate between 2008
and 2009,” the report stated, adding that the elderly were the only group where
unemployment levels actually decreased – largely indicative of the fact that
many had retired.
The unemployment rate among Caymanians
increased even though records showed that local members of the population
actually increased their participation in the workforce slightly during 2009.
The number of Caymanians with jobs
in 2008 grew from 17,686 to 18,162 in 2009; a modest rise of about 2.5 per
On the other hand, expatriate
workers in the Islands saw their numbers plummet from 21,313 in 2008 to 17,936
in 2009; a fall of about 16 per cent.
The total number of jobs in the
local workforce fell by about 2,900 between 2008 and 2009.
Last year was also the first time
since 2005 that Caymanians made up the majority of the local workforce. Despite
those gains, overall Caymanian unemployment increased substantially.
Overall, the 2009 labour study
found the average employee in the Cayman Islands put in 42.5 hours per week.
According to the survey, males
worked about two hours longer per week than females and non-Caymanians worked
about three hours longer per week than Caymanians.
The main occupations in the Islands
were public administration jobs (15 per cent), construction (14.5 per cent),
followed by retail (13.5 per cent), real estate (12.7 per cent), and financial
services (9.4 per cent).
A slim majority of the local
workforce (about 51 per cent) earned at least $2,400 per month, although the
per capita income average fell to $44,197 per year in 2009, compared to $46,409