Castries South MP Dr. Ernest Hilaire has questioned the authenticity of the latest employment figures released by the statistics division last week.
The newest job figures show that unemployment dropped to 16.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017. This is an improvement from the second quarter of this year – April to June 2017- for which unemployment stood at 20.8 percent.
Statistics also revealed that approximately 5,000 new jobs were created in the third quarter of this year.
While not criticising the division, Dr. Hiliare has said that 5,000 new jobs in the last three months seem a bit improbable when compared to what is actually happening on the ground. He said the numbers just do not add up.
“So in agriculture, fisheries and forestry they created 2,200 jobs in three months. Most of those jobs they said were skilled workers… maybe people working in the banana field, fishermen [and] what not… But when you look at the figures, all of a sudden there are zero managers in agriculture; there are no more professionals in agriculture; they have no technicians working in agriculture anymore. There is no clerical support staff working…How [is it that] in April, May, June, you had so many people working as managers, clerical staff, [and in] technical jobs- and by July, August, September [it is] zero, zero, zero?” Dr. Hiliare questioned.
He further raised questions about, the food, services and accommodation sector figures. According to the statistics department 2,000 jobs were created in hotels and restaurants in three months.
“In Laborie, 1,000 jobs were created in accommodation and food services. 1,000 jobs created in Laborie in hotels and restaurants?” he asked.
“What hotels does Laborie have like that?” he asked in Creole.
Hiliare spoke at a Saint Lucia Labour Party meeting at the Castries Market steps on Thursday night.