But unemployment overall increased
The number of employed Caymanians grew by 6.1 percent last year despite a shrinking labor force. While the unemployment rate in the Cayman Islands increased from 6.1 to 6.3 percent in 2013 due to a rise in unemployment among non-Caymanians, unemployment among Caymanians declined by over 100 job seekers to an estimated 9.4 percent, according to the latest Labour Force Survey of the Economics and Statistics Office.
In 2012, the unemployment rate for Caymanians was 1.1 percentage points higher at 10.5 percent.
“I am pleased that the labor market has improved for the Caymanians last year, and I expect it to make further progress this year towards reducing the overall unemployment rate,” said Marco Archer, minister for Finance and Economic Development.
Minister of Employment Tara Rivers said, “The significant drop in the unemployment rate among Caymanians is a positive and encouraging sign.” She ascribed part of the positive development to a more active role of the National Workforce Development Agency.
Since taking office in May 2013, the ministry had invested a lot of time and energy into revamping and properly equipping the NWDA to facilitate the training, development and employment of Caymanians, Ms. Rivers said.
“The fact that one in four unemployed Caymanians use the services of the NWDA is an indication that the agency is playing a vital role, but there is still work to be done to raise the profile of the agency in this regard,” she said.
Ms. Rivers said she is confident that following the changes at the agency, which included the launch of “a critically important” NWDA/Immigration database interface, as well as a focus on training and development and community outreach, and given the NWDA’s track record in assisting Caymanians to find employment, more people are going to use the available services.
The number of unemployed Caymanians declined from 1,925 to 1,817. However, the number of non-Caymanian job seekers increased by nearly the same amount from 485 to 596.
Meanwhile, Cayman’s labor force, the number of people at working age who either are in employment or looking for work, dropped to 38,483 in 2013 down from 38,811 a year earlier. This was based on 1,228 fewer expatriate workers and 899 more Caymanians participating in the labor market.
While there was thus no significant change in the number of unemployed overall, the shrinking labor force caused the unemployment rate to rise slightly. Unemployment is highest among the under-24-year old job seekers (24.2 percent) and the over-65-year-old job seekers (13.3 percent).
About 2.6 percent of Caymanian survey respondents said they are underemployed, meaning they have part-time work but cannot find full-time employment. Underemployment is lower among expatriates (0.7 percent).
The number of employed Caymanians increased by 1,008 in 2013. This figure consists of about 100 fewer unemployed Caymanians, new entrants into the labor force, such as school leavers and Caymanians who had not been looking for a job in Cayman in 2012, as well as Caymanian status holders who were previously classified as non-Caymanian.