A new study on the impact of COVID-19 on the population has revealed a six per cent decline in Jamaica’s labour force compared to the same period last year. Some 10,464 households participated in the survey, which was conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in July. “There were 1,279,600 persons in the labour force, and this is a decline of 81,200 or six per cent when compared to July 2019. The male labour force decreased by 4.8 per cent, while the female labour force decreased by 7.3 per cent,” Director-General of STATIN Carol Coy outlined during a virtual media briefing on Wednesday. Leesha Delatie-Budair, Deputy Director General of STATIN, said more than 80 per cent of those who participated in the survey were absent from work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Of this amount, 51,300 were either laid off or absent from work for COVID related reasons, so that accounted for 83.7 per cent of those who are temporarily absent from work; and some of these COVID related measures included the quarantine, COVID related closure of the business, and other COVID related changes to work arrangements.” “With regards to those who are temporarily absent from work because of COVID reasons, we asked whether not they anticipated returning to work and what we saw was that approximately four to six per cent of those persons indicated that they expected to return to work within three months,” she disclosed. Unemployment rate STATIN also shed light on the increase in the unemployment rate. Some 161,300 Jamaicans were jobless in July, an increase of 51.2 per cent when compared to July 2019. “The number of unemployed males was 80,500, an increase of 37,800, while the number of unemployed females increased by 16,800 to 80,800 persons. The unemployment rate for July 2020 was 12.6 per cent and this was 4.8 percentage points higher than the rate of 7.8 per cent for July 2019,” the STATIN Director-General added.
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