Business

Work slump hits women and youth hardest

Young people and women remain the groups hardest hit by the rising unemployment rate, which, according to a national survey done by the Statistical Institute of Belize last September, has increased to 16.1 percent of the work force or 24,387 persons.

This was an increase of 1.7 percent points over the results recorded six months earlier in April.

The institute attributed the downturns to slumps in the tourism, citrus and sugar industries coupled with the large number of recent graduates entering the labor market.

Some 22.4 percent of women in the work force remained unemployed— almost double the unemployment rate among men, which rose to 11.9 percent from 9.1 percent last April.

Previous labour force surveys have also reported women’s unemployment being much higher than for men.

Toledo women had the highest unemployment rate: 30.6 percent, but only 7.6 percent of unemployed women live in Toledo. In comparison, the Belize and Cayo districts together account for almost 60 percent of unemployed women—31.5 and 28.2 percent, respectively.

Young people aged 14 to 24 remain the hardest hit, as 11,561 persons (47.4 percent) of them are unemployed. Unemployment is 30 percent among young people, well above the national rate of 16.1 percent. Cayo youth are hit hardest with 33.5 percent of the national total, Toledo isn’t far behind with 33.4 percent, while the Stann Creek District has the least number of unemployed youth: 20.6 percent.

Some 54.3 percent (71,990) of the country’s workers live in the Belize District, while the Cayo District has 52,018 workers. The percentage distributions of persons in the labour force and unemployed persons closely follow the distribution of the working-age population.

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