Officials in the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development revealed that the labour force in the manufacturing sector was hit the hardest in the second quarter of 2020 as the country remained under strict measures to curb the spread of covid19.
During a joint select committee meeting on Wednesday on the unemployment during the pandemic and the State’s capacity to support those who become unemployed as a result, the ministry said statistics from the Central Statistical Office show Trinidad and Tobago's labour force dropped and unemployment levels have increased by 4,400.
Responding to a question by JSC chairman Paul Richards,the ministry said, “We realise there was a fall in the labour force of 7,100 persons. We will have to do more investigation to give data for that because some may have retired and others may have left the labour force to attend to home duties because of the pandemic.”
“We also look at the persons with jobs and we realise there was a fall of 11,700 persons in the same second quarter of 2020 in comparison with the second quarter of 2019.
“When we looked at persons with jobs by industry, the industry with the highest decrease of jobs was the manufacturing sector, construction sector, community service and wholesale and retail."
In the manufacturing industry, there was a fall of 16, 700; 12,100 in construction; 10,600 in wholesale; and 4,700 in the community service industry.
“The net reduction was 11,700 of sectors with persons with a fall in jobs,” the ministry said.
During the same period, there were major increases in the agriculture sector, of 8,800 people, and a 4,300 increase in the petroleum sector. In the financing and insurance industry, there was also an increase of 5,000 employees.
To date, 23,264 people have applied for the salary relief grant. Of these, some 7,045 were rejected.