The decline in unemployment from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent nationally may not be a true reflection of the unemployment trend in the country, according to the Department of Statistics.
The decline was partly attributed to hiring associated with the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, but statisticians at the Department of Statistics acknowledged yesterday that the event, which provides temporary jobs, may not be a true reflection of unemployment trends when compared to November 2015 and said they would consider changing the date of the survey in the future..
The results provide information on the labor force as it existed during the reference period of April 25 to May 1, 2016.
Carnival, for the last two years, has been held in May, with direct and indirect jobs being generated in the weeks prior.
When asked whether a change in the survey date would offer a more accurate reflection of unemployment in the country, Department of Statistics Deputy Director Leona Wilson said it may be better to compare May 2015 to May 2016 to get a better comparison of unemployment trends.
“You would be comparing like with like, and [then] comparing November with November,” she said during a press conference.
“Then you will be able to see the real trends.
“Now in terms of changing it, I would be reluctant to do that because May is actually, from the time we really started doing the survey, we did it in May.
“The original survey was always in May.
“I can think about it (changing the date), but I would really be reluctant to changing it.”
Employment in the manufacturing sector – arts and craft – increased by 26 percent, officials said.
This sector accounts for four percent of total employment.
The Bahamas Festival Commission has not presented its report on this year’s event.
The report would indicate how many direct and indirect jobs were created by carnival.
Hiring associated with the inaugural carnival event last year was a key factor in driving down unemployment rate down from 15.7 percent to 12 percent nationally.
The unemployment rate rose in The Bahamas from 12 percent last May to 14.8 percent last November.
The increase was caused largely by more than 2,000 layoffs at Baha Mar last October.
According to the latest survey, which pegs unemployment at 12.7 percent, at the time it was taken, 27,520 people were listed an unemployed – 15,155 women and 12,365 men.
The latest survey notes that 188,360 people were listed as employed, compared to the 180,820 people in the previous survey.
This represents an increase of 7,540 people being employed.
In the case of New Providence, the rate of unemployment dropped from 15.9 percent to 13.2 percent.
In Grand Bahama, unemployment rose from 14.2 percent to 14.7 percent.
In Abaco, the rate rose from 9.7 percent to 10.1 percent.
Discouraged workers declined by 10 percent nationally, from 2,750 in November 2015 to 2,470 in May 2016.
This category consists of people who are willing and able to work but have stopped looking for work because they feel there are no jobs available.
A breakdown of the unemployment statistics show 20,225 people were listed as unemployed on New Providence, 4,210 in Grand Bahama and 1,160 in Abaco.
The labor force totaled 215,880 people at the time of the most recent survey – 104,815 women and 111,065 men.
Of that number, 133,365 were employed in New Providence, 24,500 in Grand Bahama, and 10,305 in Abaco.
The number revealed that unemployment among young people, ages 15 to 24, declined from 30 percent to 25.8 percent, a difference of 4.2 percent.
Twenty-four percent of the labor force was made up of people, ages 25 to 35.
According to officials, there was a seven percent increase of self-employed workers.
Civil service, law enforcement and domestic services account for 36 percent of the workforce.
Around 12 percent of the employed was made up for non-Bahamians.
Since May 2012, 27,170 net jobs were added to the economy, according to the survey.
The number of people employed in May 2012 was 160,650 compared to the 188,360 employed in May 2016, the survey shows.