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Unemployment has dropped to 16.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to the Central Statistics Department latest job figures.
For the same period last year, (July – September 2016) unemployment had stood at 20 percent. This indicates a 3.2 percent drop in comparison.
The current 16.8 percent decline shows an improvement from the second quarter of this year – April to June 2017- which was 20.8 percent. For that same period last year, unemployment was 21.4 percent.
Approximately 5,000 new jobs were created in the third quarter of this year.
This increase came from the following sectors: Accommodation and Food Services which makes up 17.8 percent of employment figures, Wholesale and Retail Trade and Auto Repairs – 15.9 percent. The Forestry and Agriculture Industries saw an improvement of 10.8 percent while construction saw a 10.1 percent increase.
Youth unemployment has been reduced from 39.8 percent in the second quarter to 34.3 percent this quarter. Last year’s third quarter figure was 35.9 percent.
The results of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce’s annual business performance survey, as presented by Executive Director Brian Louisy, showed that businesses generated better sales in the first part of the year. The October results showed that 65.2 percent of the businesses surveyed reported higher income compared to 60.9 in 2016. 39 percent recorded more staff additions from January to June 2017.
And about 45 percent of surveyed firms said they expect to add to their staff teams for the second half of 2017.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, the projected increase in hiring is believed to be due to measured confidence in the economy by local businesses. About 70 percent of the surveyed participants are fairly optimistic about further economic progress.