Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Dr Andre Haughton, says he’s concerned that fewer people are participating in Jamaica’s labour market.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, reported earlier this week, that the unemployment rate is at a historic low of 8.4 percent.

According to STATIN, this is partly because some people have left the labour force and are no longer looking for a job.

According to STATIN, participation in the labour force declined from 65.5 per cent to 64 per cent. Dr Haughton says the current participation rate is significantly different from 1968, when the labour force survey began.

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Dr. Haughton says persons ought to carefully assess what’s happening in the economy. He says if the unemployment rate is low, then more people should be pulled into the labour force so that economic growth can be positively impacted.

In the meantime, President of Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance Company, Dr Adrian Stokes, says while the overall report is positive, there’s an area of concern.

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Meanwhile, Director of Surveys at the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, Dr. Natalee Simpson, says that one of the reasons for the decline in unemployment is that more people are going back to school.

Dr. Simpson says some of these persons, especially youth, have gone back to school.

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Dr. Simpson says retirement is also a factor behind the shrinking labour force. And she says that STATIN has observed more people are becoming employers, creating jobs for other people.

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However, she notes that growth in the number of government workers doesn’t necessarily mean that the government is expanding the public sector.

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