According to government figures, folks in the 35 and older age group are doing all right. Unemployment among older workers is closer to the national average of about 6.2 per cent – although that is still a bit higher than we would like to see.
However, when one looks at the unemployment figures for youths between ages 15-24, particularly for young men, the jobless rate exceeds 20 per cent. For Caymanians, the jobless rate in that age group is about 25 per cent.
It gets better among workers ages 25 to 34, where the jobless rate in 2010 for Caymanians was around 10 per cent – but that’s still nothing to brag about and should be of great concern to everyone in the territory.
From all the data we have been able to observe, this looks like an education problem for the most part. Those Caymanians who are still in school between ages 15 to 24 are not counted as part of the territory’s unemployed, so we’re really talking about the 500 or 600 people who don’t have jobs in that age group.
Frankly, we’re not sure why a 15- or 16-year-old in the modern world is out of school at all. Everyone in the Cayman Islands should be continuing their education until at least age 17 when they graduate from high school.
For the older ones, between ages 19-24, if they aren’t in school and not working, the question must be raised: what are they doing with their time? There is often not a happy answer to that query, we have found.
Education Minister Rolston Anglin and his staff recognised this problem early on and have made great strides in addressing it through the Passport2Success programme and other efforts.
We need more where that came from. It doesn’t help any country to have large numbers of people younger than age 30 in the unemployment line.