The population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines grew by just 969 persons between 2001 and 2012, but almost 6,000 more are employed at the end of the period.
That is according to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves at the Unity labour Party’s (ULP) convention in Campden Park on Sunday.
Gonsalves said that the population increase between 2001 and 2012 was the lowest since 1911.
He, however, said that the number of persons who are employed increased from 35,036 to 40,821 — some 5,785 or 14.7%.
“And I will tell you this: although the population increase by only 969, the labour force increased significantly,” Gonsalves said.
He said people are living longer and healthier and more and more persons over the age of 60, in addition to the young people who are getting jobs, are staying in their jobs or finding other jobs.
The prime minister said that data from the National Insurance Services (NIS) showed that at the end of 2000, the number of persons making NIS contributions was 30,061, compared to 41,307 at the end of 2019.
Gonsalves, however, said that the figures understate the number of people who are employed.
“Because when you look at the list, you will see that although you have about 2,000 persons working in households as domestic employees, it’s just about 600 paying NIS.”
He further said that just about 700 of the 5,000 persons working in agriculture make NIS contributions.
“In fact, the NIS estimates that they capture just about 80 per cent of the people who are actually working and they say that that has been so from time immemorial.”
He said that when the self-employed persons are added to this, in 2001, the number of persons employed was 30,373 and in 2019, the figure is 42,958.
“In other words, approximately 13,000 more,” Gonsalves said.