Wayne Walker reports

The latest data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, suggest four years of employment gains have been reversed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a quarterly media briefing today, STATIN said at the end of July, the country had seen a surge in unemployment to 12.6 percent in comparison to the 7.8 percent for the corresponding period in 2019.

It’s a major hit., STATIN’s Director-General, Carol Coy, says Jamaica’s unemployment rate has gone up by almost 5 percentage points compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

This rate is only slightly better than the 13.5 per cent recorded in 2016.

That’s four years of job gains lost in under six months.

Ms. Coy says there’s also been a decline in labour force participation due to the pandemic.

Ms. Coy says the services industry suffered the largest decline, undoubtedly linked to the fall-off in tourism.

With the economy expected to continue to contract for the rest of the year, further increases in unemployment are likely.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director-General, Leesha Delatie-Budair, says a majority of Jamaican households surveyed have reported a decline in income due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

The data were provided as part of STATIN’s COVID-19 Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Survey.

Mrs. Delatie-Budair says the majority of households that have suffered from reduced income have relied on government support as a supplement.

Leesha Delatie-Budair, Deputy Director General of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.