The Statistical Institute of Belize – they’re the folks who generate the numbers on everything from the population to the inflation rate. And this year, the SIB - which usually just sends out press releases – is taking a higher profile. They held a press conference today to release the latest figures on unemployment, the trade imbalance and the inflation rate for 2013.
First to the unemployment figures. Those come from the September 2013 Labour Force Survey – an annual exercise. Those figures show that unemployment is down form the record high of 16.1% in September 2012. It’s down to 14.2% which is still very high – but it means that 1,500 more people are working.
Deputy Director General Leopold Perriot explained this morning:
Leopold Perriott – Deputy Director General, Statistical Institute of Belize
“The number of unemployed persons is twenty-one thousand three hundred persons in all. That’s the entire country, that’s the estimate for September, mid-September 2013. An unemployed person is a person that is fourteen years or old without a job, looking and able. Of that, we have males are almost nine thousand, eight thousand seven hundred and seventy-six of the unemployed are males and the females dwarf them, twelve thousand five hundred and twenty-four females and unemployed. That’s the numbers we’ve come up with. The unemployment rate is a number of unemployed persons divided by the number of persons in the labour force. So it’s the percentage of persons in the labour force. Countrywide, it’s fourteen point two percent of the unemployed people in the labour force; that is the unemployment rate. The number of unemployed persons decreased evidently its twenty-one thousand three hundred, which is a good thing. The highest unemployment rate was in Cayo, 16.7%, the lowest in Orange Walk, 11.8%. They unemployment rate for women is a whopping 21.5%, and for men, it's a 9.6%. This has been consistent throughout the years. The youth between the ages of 14 and 24 seem to have high unemployment rate, 25.3%, about twice the unemployment rate of the next group, which is 25 to 34."
The survey of 5,910 households and 14,500 persons showed that the median monthly income is 900 dollars.