UNEMPLOYMENT is down, with people either moving into jobs or leaving the workforce, said the Central Bank Monetary Policy Report for November. The unemployment rate was 3.8 per cent in the first half of 2018, relative to four per cent a year before.
While 900 fewer people were in jobs, some 8,500 people left the labour force of employable workers, the report said to explain the improved data. The report said in Q1-Q3 this year, the labour market was slack, indicating people could be employed but were idle.
Those in jobs are working harder for their money, the report also alluded.
“Labour productivity improved during the first quarter of 2019 as output increased while the number of hours worked declined.” The index of productivity is a calculation of production per hour.
“The Index of Productivity increased by seven per cent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2019, as domestic production was marginally higher (1.0 per cent) while hours worked declined sharply by 26.8 per cent.” The raised productivity was largely seen in non-energy sub-sectors, including drink and tobacco and food processing.
The seven per cent rise reflects a big rise in productivity in the non-energy sector combined with a drop in the energy sector.
“When the energy sector is excluded, the Index of Productivity increased by 25.0.
“By contrast, productivity for companies engaged in the oil and gas refining sub-sector declined substantially on account of the closure of Petrotrin.”
Otherwise, the report said the closure of Petrotrin led to a steep drop in TT’s average wage.
In Q1 this year, the index of average weekly earnings (AWE) year-on-year fell by a whopping 32 per cent, largely due to Petrotrin.
However for the non-energy sector, this wage index rose by 2.6 per cent due to higher earnings in areas such as the drink, tobacco, assembly and print/publishing.