Employment rate below 50%- Guyana Labour Force Survey


The employment rate in Guyana is at 49.2% according to the Guyana National Bureau of Statistics’ (GNBS) Labour Force Survey (LFS) for the third quarter of 2017, which was released on Thursday.

According to the report, “the employment-to-population ratio in Guyana appears to be particularly low at 49.2 percent, with a significant difference between the rate of men (62.1) and women (36.9).”

In the third quarter of 2017, the total population aged 15 and above residing in Guyana was 550,831 persons with 72.2 percent based in urban areas.

The study, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), said the results of the survey seem to suggest a situation where a small share of the population is employed in full-time jobs while those who cannot find those jobs prefer to opt out of the labour market altogether.

Meanwhile, the report launched at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown, pegged unemployment in the third quarter of 2017 at 12 percent corresponding to 37,119 persons.

The youth unemployment rate is almost twice that of the total working population, at 21.6 percent.

According to the report “unemployed persons are those who are not employed, are available to work within a short time span to start a job, and are actively looking for a job.”

The situation appears to have not been improved since the completion of the 2012 census.

“Indeed, the 2017 rate is not statistically different from the rate registered in the 2012 census, where unemployment was 12.5 percent,” the report said.

It was also found that less than ten percent of the population have completed post-secondary education which essentially points to the shortage of qualified persons in the labour market and migration of tertiary-educated persons.

The major employer in the country was found to be the Agriculture sector at 17.8 percent. The wholesale and retail trade comes in second. It increased from 15.4 percent in 2012 to 17.1 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

The survey said public administration and defence account for 8.8 percent of employed workers, and the construction sector, 8.4 percent, is the fourth largest employment sector.

Ranging from 14 to 18 percent, the construction sector, manufacturing and transportation registered a reduction in their relative share of employment, whilst the most sizable decrease was registered in the mining and quarrying sector, which lost 46.5 percent in terms of relative share of employment.

Deputy Chief Statistician (ag), Ian Manifold

During the launch of the report, Deputy Chief Statistician (ag), Ian Manifold related that such statistics are important to inform policies and investment decisions.

“These Statistics directly influence investment and financial planning in the USA (a developed country). As a developing country, Guyana is now developing these labour market tools to boost the growth of a thriving financial sector whose decisions will be based on sound indicators which emanate from the LFS and other sources,” he said.

IDB country representative, Sophie Makonnen

As Guyana is completing a local content policy, IDB country representative, Sophie Makonnen, point to the need to match labour with current and future developments. She noted that “More than ever, Guyana needs to match its supply of labour with the current and future demand for labour to ensure that the population has the skills for the jobs that are going to be out there.”

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