Cayman’s Employment and Labour Force Grew in October 2016

The total number of persons employed in the Cayman Islands increased to an estimated 40,411 in the October 2016 Labour Force Survey, up from 39,138 persons in the October 2015 survey, a 3.3% increase.

The total number of persons comprising the Labour Force in the Cayman Islands was estimated at 42,196 in October 2016, higher by 3.2 percent (or 1,326 persons) compared to October 2015.

The Labour Force consists of the number of persons employed plus those persons that are available and looking, for employment.  

The Caymanian Labour Force increased by 1.8 percent to reach 19,931, while Permanent Residents with rights to work  rose by 7.1 percent to 4,577. The Non-Caymanian Labour Force was estimated at 17,687, higher by 3.9 percent compared to October 2015. (Non-Caymanians are comprised of persons on work permits; those who are married to Caymanians but are awaiting Permanent Residence; and persons working by operation of law).

Of the 42,196 total Labour Force in October 2016, it was estimated that 40,411 persons were employed while 1,785 were unemployed. Compared to October 2015, total unemployment grew by 53 persons, an increase of 3.0 percent.

With the 3.3 percent increase in the number of persons employed, when comparing October 2016 and October 2015, being essentially the same as the 3.2 percent increase in the Labour Force, the overall employment rate (the percentage of total employment to total Labour Force) remained stable at 95.8 percent. Therefore, the overall unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 4.2 percent.

Total employment among Caymanians reached 18,525 persons, higher by 0.9 percent (or 159 persons) compared to October 2015. However, due to the greater increase in the Caymanian Labour Force of 1.8 percent, the Caymanian employment rate decreased marginally from 93.8 percent a year ago to 92.9 percent. Conversely, the Caymanian unemployment rate rose from 6.2 percent in October 2015 to 7.1 percent in October 2016.

The increase in the Caymanian Labour Force resulted from a greater number of Caymanians who entered the Labour Force by making themselves available for work and, were looking for work in October 2016.

“A number of reasons could have motivated more Caymanians to enter the Labour Force in October 2016,” stated the Hon. Marco Archer, the Minister for Finance and Economic Development. “The sustained economic recovery, evidenced by a stronger-than-expected growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.8 percent in 2015 and the estimated GDP growth of 3.0 percent as of the first half of 2016, could have encouraged job searches in the second half of 2016,” the Minister explained.

“In addition, the age of pension entitlement was increased to age 65 in May 2016, and this could have inspired persons 60 and older to re-enter the Labour Force.  A minimum wage was also established in March 2016, which could also have encouraged greater efforts towards getting a job by persons across all age groups,” he further noted.

The total number of unemployed Caymanians in October 2016 was estimated at 1,406 persons, or an increase of 197 persons from October 2015.

Among the unemployed Caymanians in October 2016, approximately 19.7 percent were previously employed in the construction sector. “Hence, when compared to the October 2015 Labour Force Survey results, the increase in unemployed Caymanians by 197 persons may be due to the completion of major construction projects” Minister Archer explained. “As new projects are foreseen to start in 2017, it is expected that these persons could be re-absorbed by new job opportunities,” he further stated.

Since 2010, the lowest overall unemployment rate occurred in April 2016, when it was estimated at 3.9 percent. Therefore, the latest overall unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, estimated in October 2016, is the second lowest rate since 2010. The Caymanian unemployment rate peaked at 10.5 percent in April 2010 and stood at 6.2% in October 2015, 5.6% in April 2016, and 7.1% in October 2016, the third lowest rate since April 2010.

The overall unemployment rate in October 2016 of 4.2 percent, is the lowest among the published unemployment rates for the region: Bahamas (12.7 percent in May 2016); Jamaica (12.9 percent in October 2016); Bermuda (7.0 percent in 2015); Trinidad and Tobago (4.4 percent in July 2016); US Virgin Islands (11.1 percent in 2016); and Barbados (11.8 percent in the second quarter of 2015).

The Cayman Islands’ Labour Force Survey for March 2017 is currently being conducted.

More information on “The Cayman Islands’ Labour Force Survey Report: October 2016” are available at www.eso.ky.