Hundreds of persons, including Community College graduates, responded to KFC’s “open call for vacancies” in 2015. The IMF says that in 2017 youth unemployment in SVG was 46 per cent. (iWN file photo)

The overall unemployment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) at the end of 2017 was 25 per cent, 3.5 percentage points higher than in 2012, and 4 percentage points higher than in 2001.

That’s according to the statistics presented by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the 2017 Article IV Consultation Staff Report for SVG.

“Those who feel it knows it. Others may say it’s even more,” Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday said on Wednesday as he commented on the report at a New Democratic Party press conference in Kingstown.

“You hear about all the magical things done to this economy by the ULP and the unemployment rate, according to the IMF, today, at 25 per cent is higher than it was in 2001, at 20.9 per cent.”

Friday said that “even more alarming” is that youth unemployment is “a staggering 46 per cent”.

Youth, according to the IMF report, refers to persons 15-24 years of age.

“This is the IMF report, based on information provided by the government. You know, they talk about transparency and accountability but very little information tends to be made actually public. But this is information that was presented and they (the IMF) made their calculations.”

Friday said he does not doubt that the figure is higher than this, saying a lot of young people leave school and stop trying after not finding a job in three years.

Female unemployment rate was at 30 per cent.

The report said unemployment was highest among graduates of secondary schools, while most university graduates were employed — reflecting more international labour mobility and professional opportunities.

Agriculture, and wholesale and retail absorb more workers (each around 13 per cent of total workers).

Agriculture employs mostly low-skilled workers (educational level of primary or less ), while wholesale and retail workers are equally distributed among most educational levels except that of a university degree. Of university graduates, 55 per cent work either in the public sector, education or health services.

“The high and persistent overall unemployment rate coincides with the increase of females’ labour market participation rate. Labour market participation of women significantly increased from 45 to 62 per cent between 2001 and 2015, while males’ participation remained stable. Meanwhile, female unemployment rose from 18 to 30 per cent,” the IMF said.

The report said that around 24.3 per cent of the population is inactive. Nearly one-half of inactive are retired or in school. Health conditions, labour market restrictions and household obligations are other factors preventing people from seeking employment.

Inactive people relied on diverse sources of main financial support, including from remittances, pensions and social security transfers.

8 replies on “SVG’s unemployment worse than in 2001 — IMF”

  1. Yes, things are bad in SVG and most of what the government does only make it worse. The government has to stop thinking only about themselves. Too bad that the report does not tell us what percentage of those that are employed are working for the government. I would say that if we include those in positions funded by the government we would see it at about 25%. That means that a large percentage of the employed get their money from those that pay tax. Does anyone see the problem with that? Now we see why are taxes are so high and it still cannot come close to solving our problems.

  2. Where is the economic take off? I guessed it is around the corner. The population had a chance two years ago but they need charisma. You have s white elephant at Argyle where they beat they chest of international flights but it just can’t sustain our economy. The amount of money that is being spent to filled those empty seats should be made available to the public. Our agricultural sector is in the worst shape. This government has brought the people to their knees, so much beggars in the country. As I told a friend after the election, it’s not going to be to long that CNN would have a broadcast from there where people would be start eating each other. Me. Eustace came on the radio and preach what was ahead but many didn’t heed his call.

  3. Interesting how you would come here and echo Eustace’s sentiment while ignoring the fact that Mr Eustace has a negative approach towards the development of SVG. Mr Eustace against the Geothermal project/AIA construction/the Student loans programme/ Buccama Bay Resort/ Low income Housing project/Mt Wynn Peter’s Hope project and the list goes on. A Browne, check facts before you utter rubbish. Why Dr Friday left out other parts of the IMF reports which are positive? Ask yourself this question.

  4. Harry Marriott says:

    Private enterprise creates real jobs and wealth. Governments don’t cos they can’t. SVG had very little to encourage private enterprise, everything is politics driven. Everything. We need to move away from the red and yellow nonsense and try and act like a country which wants to go somewhere and improve the life chances of its people.

  5. Bigga biggs is a prime example of this administration stifling private enterprise..I really think investors, especially those overseas, are very wary of this present government.This distrust is based on the government’s track record and the way they’ve treated people like bigga biggs.

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