Cayman’s overall unemployment rate increased nearly a full percentage point between fall 2016 and fall 2017, government statistics released last Thursday revealed.

The rate went from 4.2 percent in the latter half of 2016 to 4.9 percent during the same time for 2017.

The overall rate encompasses jobless figures for both Caymanian and non-Caymanian residents and represents the portion of the total workforce that is actively seeking a job, but which has not attained employment.

The Caymanian unemployment rate also increased during the same period, but only marginally. According to the government Economics and Statistics Office Labour Force Surveys, 1,406 Caymanians were unemployed in fall 2016, while 1,515 Caymanians were unemployed in fall 2017.

The Caymanian jobless rate was calculated at 7.1 percent (fall 2016) and 7.3 percent (fall 2017) during the same period.

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The bulk of the unemployment increase was tied to a surprising rise in the number of jobless non-Caymanians living in the British Overseas Territory.

According to the statistics office, the number of unemployed non-Caymanian workers who did not have permanent resident status went from 206 in fall 2016 to 380 in fall 2017.

Typically, non-Caymanian workers are not allowed to remain here without a work permit, unless they have some other family or marital connection to Cayman.

The unemployment rate increase occurred at a time when the local labor force grew and employed a greater number of people.

According to statistics office figures, the total labor force increased by 1.8 percent between 2016 and 2017, adding 745 workers.

Caymanians made up 48.4 percent of the total workforce, permanent residents made up 10.1 percent and non-Caymanians represented 41.5 percent.

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