Unemployment remains a major issue for government, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge.
Greenidge made the declaration as he was addressing the audience at the commissioning of the new Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) rum ageing warehouse last Friday.
His statement came a day after the release of the findings from a Guyana Labour Force Survey, which calculated Guyana’s current unemployment to be 12% in the third quarter of last year.
“I join you DDL and you friends and colleagues today in lauding the move to put up this warehouse, which not only means an increased in production capacity but an increase in employment. For Guyana today, although government may not say this every day, it is the biggest political challenge we face. Whatever party is in office, it is a major challenge,” the minister said.
“My first job as an economist was in the area of unemployment and looking at unemployment. We do have major problems with unemployment. It is a major priority politically and we will encourage to foster and undertake plans that provide opportunities both at the level of skilled employment and at those who may not be that highly qualified,” he added.
Meanwhile, the findings of the survey, which is said to be first of its kind in Guyana in recent years, found that the total number of unemployed persons for the period was 37,119, which comprised 15.3% of eligible females, as opposed to 9.9% of eligible males, as well as 21.6% of youth aged 15 to 24 and 28% of young women.
Further, it noted that among the total resident population, aged 15 and above, numbering 550,831 persons, there was a labour force participation rate of 56%, roughly equal to the corresponding 2012 figure of 55.7%. The total employed population was given as 271,068, with 166,873 or 62% being males and 104,195 or 38% being females, while 188,774 of the workers were based in urban areas and 82,294 in rural areas. (The labour force participation rate is the labour force—defined as the sum of persons in employment plus persons in unemployment—as a percentage of the working-age population.)
The survey, which can be accessed at the Bureau of Statistics website, is the result of a collaboration between the Guyana Government, through the Bureau of Statistics, and the Inter-American Development Bank, which funded the activity to the tune of almost US$1 million.