Preliminary results of the April 2013 labour force survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) show that the national unemployment rate was 12.1% in that month, compared with 14.4% twelve months earlier. This represents a fall in the number of persons without a job from about 21,370 to 17,920 persons. The decline in the unemployment rate was due to a smaller percentage of working age persons working or available for work and a significant increase in the number of jobs available.

At the district level, the unemployment rate varied from 8.0% in Toledo to 15.5% in Stann Creek. With the exception of Belize and Stann Creek, which were among the three districts with the highest rates of joblessness, there was a decline in the unemployment rate in all districts. The unemployment rate in Toledo and Cayo, in particular, fell by more than five percentage points, reflecting sizeable employment gains in the agriculture sector. The service sector was the largest contributor to the increase in jobs in the other districts.

Women continued to be more affected by unemployment than males. The survey showed that they were three times more likely to be unemployed than men. As shown in Figure 2, the urban and rural unemployment rates remained within a percentage point of each other.

A detailed report on the results of the April 2013 Labour Force Survey will be released in the next two months.