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14% unemployment, low inflation says SIB

By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter
Unemployment has gone down by almost two percent, and inflation stands at zero point five percent, the Statistical Institute of Belize reported Wednesday, at
The SIB held a press conference on Wednesday to release the data on Unemployment, Inflation and External Trade Statistics.
The SIB’s findings showed that the number of unemployed people decreased from 24,000 in September 2012, to 21,300 in 2013, changing the unemployment rate from 16.1 percent in 2012, to 14.2 percent in 2013.
The study showed that 21.5 percent of women were unemployed, while only 9.6 percent of men Unemployment has gone down by almost two percent, and inflation stands at zero point five percent, the Statistical Institute of Belize reported.
The SIB held a press conference on Wednesday to release the data on Unemployment, Inflation and External Trade Statistics.
The SIB’s findings showed that the number of unemployed people decreased from 24,000 in September 2012, to 21,300 in 2013, changing the unemployment rate from 16.1 percent in 2012, to 14.2 percent in 2013.
The study showed that 21.5 percent of women were unemployed, while only 9.6 percent of men were found to be unemployed.
The youth population had double the national rate of unemployment. According to the Labour Force Survey, females “between the ages of 18 and 23 years made up the majority of unemployed youth.”
There was little disparity between the unemployment rates for urban and rural areas. Male unemployment for 2013 urban was at 14.5 percent, while rural stood at 13.9 percent. By district, Orange Walk had the lowest unemployment rate, while Cayo had the highest.
Unemployment remained relatively constant at 15 percent in the Stann Creek District, which the SIB attributes to “low economic activity in the sugar, citrus and tourism industries.”
The SIB also reported that inflation was recorded at 0.5 percent for 2013.
According to Glen Avilez, director General of the SIB, Belize’s inflation rate matches the falling rates in both the United States and Canada.
“What helped to suppress the increase of overall prices were lower clothing and footwear prices. Vehicle and health insurance premiums were down, and fuel prices were kept in check,” Avilez explained.
Food items, non alcoholic beverages, electricity, hospital accommodations and transportation costs all had notable price increases. Beverages went up by 1.5 percent, while beef and rice went up by 12.6 percent and eight percent, respectively.
In January 2013, electricity went up from 41.81 cents per kilo watt hour to 48.86 cents. Dangriga had virtually no change in inflation, giving it the lowest rate, while Belmopan had the highest rate of 1.4 percent.
The data was collected through the SIB’s Labour Force Survey.
A total of 5,910 households was randomly selected giving a sample size of over 14,500 people of ages 14 and over.
The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, is calculated by monitoring the price of 260 items.
The CPI measures the changes in price for food, fuel and butane every month, while the price for goods and services are monitored every 3 months.
The range in the CPI from one time period to the next is the inflation rate.

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