A total of 642 unemployed people registered with the Cayman Islands Department of Employment Relations between 2009 and 2011, according to figures released as part of an immigration system review that were released earlier this month.
The Immigration Term Limit Review Committee looked at unemployment as part of its report that recommended a number of changes to Cayman’s current immigration policies on foreign labour, including extending the seven-year term limit on residence for foreign employees to 10 years.
Figures from the Department of Employment Relations indicated that a total of 642 people had registered as “unemployed” with the department during the three year period reviewed by the committee.
Of those individuals, 519 were Caymanians [including those granted Caymanian status] and 123 were permanent residents.
Among the unemployed registered with the department, more than 300 reported obtaining only a high school diploma or not finishing high school. Another 143 of those registered said they had attended “some college”, while 147 of those registered reported have obtained an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a certificate or a master’s degree.
The unemployed registered with the department were fairly well-distributed across the age groups, but the largest number of registered unemployed (192) were between ages 19-25. Another 168 were between ages 26-35, there were 106 people registered unemployed between ages 36-45 and another 104 between ages 46-55.
The number of those registered with the department does not include the full count of Cayman’s unemployed people, only those who registered between 2009 and 2011, according to department officials.
The Cayman Islands’ overall unemployment situation didn’t exactly improve during 2011. However, it didn’t really get any worse either.
According to a labour force study completed by the government Economics and Statistics Office in the fall of 2011, the overall workforce in the Cayman Islands grew just a bit between 2010 and 2011. According to economics office estimates, the number of employed Caymanians went up by about 176 people from year to year.
The number of employed non-Caymanian workers also increased by 108 people during the same time.
The total number of unemployed individuals went up by 23 people from year to year as well, which means the overall unemployment rate remained roughly the same as it had been during 2010; about 9.8 per cent for Caymanians and 3.1 per cent for non-Caymanians.
“[The low unemployment rate for non-Caymanians] is expected since non-Caymanians who do not have a work permit or government contract to participate in the labour force are required to leave the country,” the Economics and Statistics Office report states. Unemployed permanent residents or spouses of Caymanians who are seeking work account for most of the unemployed non-Caymanian figures.
Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush said he was encouraged that some growth – about 0.8 per cent – had occurred in the overall workforce.
“I am pleased that the labour market has improved last year, and I expect it to further make progress this year,” Mr. Bush said.
Since about 2008, Cayman’s overall population, as well as its workforce within that population has seen a steady decline. Last year was the first to buck the trend since then.
Caymanians made up some 45.3 per cent of the workforce, while non-Caymanians made up 54.7 per cent; about the same as what the territory saw during 2010, the statistics office noted.