Unemployment rate stabilizes at 4.1 percent

Fewer Caymanians were jobless during the first half of this year, according to the government’s Economics and Statistics Office Labour Force Survey for spring 2017.

In the fall of 2016, government reported that more than 1,400 Caymanians were unemployed, compared to an estimated 1,277 this spring.

The corresponding unemployment rate for Caymanian workers fell from 7 percent in fall 2016 to 6.2 percent in spring 2017. Typically the unemployment rate is lower during the spring as more companies increase staff for the busy tourism season.

Caymanian unemployment stood at 5.7 percent during the spring of 2016.

The overall unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, which is about where it has been during government’s last two reporting periods. That means nearly 96 percent of the people in the Cayman Islands labor force held jobs as of last spring.

The territory’s total labor force grew by about 3 percent during the first half of 2017, with more than 43,000 people considered to be “in the job market” – whether fully employed, partially employed (also called underemployment) or unemployed.

In addition to jobless Caymanians, there were 159 non-Caymanian permanent residents looking for work during the spring and 345 non-Caymanian residents who did not have permanent status looking for a job.

Persistent trouble spots in Caymanian unemployment continued to plague the government’s stated efforts to find a job for every Caymanian who is willing to work.

“The unemployment rate for persons between 15 and 24 years (9.1 percent) remained the highest when compared to other age groups of the unemployed,” according to the statistics office survey.

The overall unemployment rate was slightly higher among women (4.5 percent) than among men (3.7 percent), the report stated.

Nearly one-third of all those unemployed in Cayman had a post-high school education, the statistics office reported. “Among unemployed Caymanians, 24.1 percent had post-secondary education or higher,” the labor force survey read.

Two-thirds of the unemployed individuals who responded to the survey listed “unavailability of work” as the reason they were unemployed. About 16 percent said they were unable to work due to a short-term illness.

About 93 percent of the unemployed Caymanians had worked within the past year, according to the survey.

Underemployment

People who were working, but who were not able to obtain full-time (37.5 hours per week) employment are listed among the “underemployment” in the statistics office survey. There were 1,729 of them during the spring of 2017. About 800 of these part-time workers were Caymanian; nearly another 800 were non-Caymanians here on work permits.

The largest numbers of underemployed were workers between the ages of 35 and 54, according to the survey.

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