Cayman’s overall unemployment rate fell from 5.6 percent in spring 2015 to 4.2 percent in fall 2015, the government Office of Economics and Statistics reported Tuesday.

The drop in the jobless rate was solely due to a decrease in unemployment numbers among Caymanians.

The ESO statistics revealed that just more than 1,200 Caymanians were jobless in fall 2015, compared to 1,562 Caymanians without employment in fall 2014. The unemployment rate for Caymanian workers stood at 6.2 percent in fall 2015, the lowest it has been since the global financial crisis of 2009-2010.

Conversely, the number of unemployed permanent residents rose during the same period. There were 129 (2.8 percent) permanent residents jobless in fall 2014, compared to 283 (6.6 percent) in fall 2015.

The unemployment rate among non-Caymanian workers also rose slightly, from 0.9 percent to 1.4 percent during the same period. Typically, the unemployment rate for work permit holders is quite low because they are not allowed to stay on island without a job.

“The continued decline in the Caymanian unemployment rate from 9.4 percent in 2013 to 6.2 percent in 2015, is the outcome of deliberate economic policies and strategies bearing fruit,” Finance Minister Marco Archer said. “This was achieved through cooperation and hard work between the business community, the public sector and the wider society.

“I recognize that achieving full employment for Caymanians in the medium term may not be easy, but it is also not impossible and requires additional training, a positive attitude and a willingness to offer employment opportunities.”

The 4.2 percent overall jobless rate was also lauded by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce this week.

“If this was the U.S., [the statistics] would be taken as full employment,” Chamber President Paul Pearson said.

The number of underemployed workers in the islands – those who are working part-time, but not considered to be fully employed at 37.5 hours per week – stayed about the same between fall 2014 and fall 2015.

What did increase significantly, according to the statistics office survey, was Cayman’s overall population.

Estimates by the ESO noted the total population in the three islands rose to 60,413 by fall 2015, compared to an estimated population of 58,238 in fall 2014.

The 60,000-plus figure represents the highest total population the Cayman Islands has ever seen.

Among the employed, non-Caymanian workers and permanent residents still outnumbered Caymanian workers. According to the figures, Caymanians made up 47 percent of the employed population, while non-Caymanians totaled about 53 percent of those working.

Of those considered to be among the working age population, age 15 and over, Caymanians made up 52.5 percent. Permanent residents and non-Caymanian work permit holders made up 47.5 percent, statistics show.

Work permits

The sharp decrease in overall Caymanian unemployment comes against the backdrop of a significant increase in the number of work permits held in the islands.

In fall 2014, when the Caymanian unemployment rate was at 7.9 percent, the Immigration Department reported about 20,500 active work permits and government contracts.

In fall 2015, with the Caymanian unemployment rate at 6.2 percent, the corresponding number of work permits was nearing 22,500. This month, the total number of work permits and government contracts held in the islands was said by immigration officials to be more than 23,000.

Over the past five years, work permit numbers have seen a steady increase in Cayman, from a low of about 18,500 in the 2011-2012 era to last week’s tally of more than 23,000.


  1. This figure is not saying a thing. If it was cut in half then that would sound better but only a mere three hundred get employed out of more than fifteen hundred is not good enough.
    Now let us look at jobs. We have many jobs whereby companies are hiring foreign workers to drive their delivery trucks, and on top of that the “un load man” is also a foreigner ” Concerned yes, people are watching.”
    You call a company for advice, instructions or price on a product, and you wonder if you have called Cayman Islands. First thing the person on the other end does not understand what you are saying, and if you asked what is the price of “New Zealand Cheese” you will get an answer . ” We no sell Bees” No, I asked for New Zealand cheese !!, “New Zealand? “No he not here”
    Do you get the drift, and see what I am trying to say? However companies are still hiring. Not their fault anyway, they only apply for a work permit.
    I believe I am a straight talker I believe, and my advice to any Caymanians reading this I will also, with no grouse applied, point out your down fall that needs taken care of.
    Although you understand “Cheese from Bees”, and no Mr New Zeland is employed with your company, you need to respond to a call in your best manners. Remember you do not know who is on the other end of the line. Your answer can make or break your company, just like the old saying goes, “First impression is a lasting one”
    Delivery persons be courteous and do your job. We were also brought up to say yes maam, please and thank you. So, pull out all stops and use them the way you were taught.

  2. I laughing so hard cannot sit on my chair. Where are these numbers coming from? How many Caymanians have given up working? How many countless others have not registered with the NWDA ? How many Caymanians are underemployed and in lower standard jobs compared with their level of qualifications for the sake of having a job? I have a good friend on Wall Street and the same thing can be said about US published stats. We must be using the same statistical manuals to arrive at our numbers. Anyone worth a lick of sense would know even with all the bump up in work permit numbers there are many starving out of work Caymanians not to include those with a prison record who ARE out of work. Are you kidding me- I’m not a gambling man but I would think the true unemployment is closer to 15 percent minimum. And dont get me started on the CPI index – gas which cannot come down despite lower global oil prices is much cheaper than milk . So think again and like the reggae artist says- REEL and come again with proper numbers. Oops forgot we dont have audited consolidated financial statements for the last 12 years so why do I bother saying anything about the government’s numbers. Might as well get a copy of the funny papers to read. At least will get a laugh from the comics and not heart burn reading this ESO nonsense. You know what this government should do- try and figure out a new weighted average basket of currencies for the Cayman dollar since the current peg nah lasting too long. Google the new global currency SDRs, and stop twiddling your thumbs. At least do that for the Caymanian people who dont have much inheritance to look forward to in this new global economic order and paradigm.

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