Unemployment in the Cayman Islands fell 1.6 percent last year to 4.7 percent, according to the new Labour Force Survey from the Economics and Statistics Office.
Among Caymanians, unemployment fell from 9.4 percent to 7.9 percent. For non-Caymanians, that number fell from 3.1 percent to 1.5 percent, according to the report. This is the first time since 2009 that overall unemployment fell below 6 percent and Caymanian unemployment dropped under 9 percent.
Finance Minister Marco Archer, after the report’s release Tuesday, said in a press release, “I am pleased that the labor market improved last year, and progress is expected this year towards further reducing the overall unemployment rate.”
Population, meanwhile, increased to more than 58,000, according to the report. Non-Caymanians led the population increase, growing by 8 percent over the year.
The labor force grew at a slower rate, increasing 2.8 percent in 2014, according to the Economics and Statistics Office. The labor force includes people older than 15 who have not retired or otherwise dropped out of the labor force.
Work permits increased by 1,707 last year, accounting for much of the population and labor force growth.
Unemployment has been falling since 2009, when overall unemployment hit 6.3 percent. Unemployment among Caymanians has been falling since 2012, when it was 10.5 percent, its highest point in more than a decade.
Even with the growing population and labor force numbers, the unemployment rate also represented a drop in the number of people unemployed. The report states: “The decrease in the number of unemployed persons was mainly due to 319 fewer unemployed non-Caymanians and 240 fewer unemployed Caymanians during that period.”
Government releases the Labour Force Survey annually. The survey, available on the Economics and Statistics Office website, tracks details on employment, including income, industry and population data. The statistics office staff sent surveys and carried out interviews with 1,416 randomly selected households across the districts.
The size of the survey represents about 6 percent of households in Cayman, giving a 2.5 percent margin of error.