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Cayman Islands total labour force increased by 7.9 percent

By Christina Trumbach

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – According to estimates from The Cayman Islands Labour Force Survey (LFS) Spring 2023 Report, the total labour force increased by 7.9 percent in the past year to include 58,669 people as of June 2023. With 1,404 people being counted as unemployed, the overall unemployment rate dropped to 2.4 percent from 3.0 percent in June 2022.

The number of unemployed Caymanians declined by 316 to total 842 individuals, resulting in a Caymanian unemployment rate of 3.7 percent compared to 5.1 percent for the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, the LFS report estimates that the overall Cayman Islands population grew by 6.5 percent above the June 2022 figure to reach 83,671. Broken down by immigration status, the Caymanian population rose by 1.3 percent to 38,926; the permanent resident population decreased to 6,433 from 6,756 in June 2022; and the Non-Caymanian population is estimated to have increased by 14.8 percent to reach 38,312.

Caymanians made up the largest proportion of the overall population, accounting for 46.5 percent of the population, while Non-Caymanians and Permanent Residents had a population share of 45.8 and 7.7 percent, respectively.

A review of the labour force distribution by immigration status showed that 38.3 percent of the Islands’ workers were Caymanians, 54.8 percent were Non-Caymanians, and 6.9 percent were Permanent Residents with the right to work.

Males outnumbered females among the employed, with a count of 30,394 compared to 26,872, representing percentage shares of 53.1 and 46.9, respectively. Most workers fell between the ages of 25 to 54 years, accounting for 78.9 percent of the total. In contrast, individuals aged 15 to 24 years and those 65 years and older comprised 4.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, of the employed labour force.

The top five occupations, collectively accounting for 79.5 percent of total employment, were professionals (19.8%); service and sales workers (19.1%); craft and related trades workers (15.3%); elementary occupations (12.9%); and technicians and associate professionals (12.3%).

The top six industries accounted for 57.0 percent of the employed labour force. They were as follows: construction (14.6%); wholesale and retail trade (10.9%); professional, scientific, and technical activities (9.5%); financial and insurance activities (7.5%); administrative and support service activities (7.3%); and accommodation (7.2%).

Approximately 63.9 percent of employed individuals earned CI$2,400 or more per month. The proportion was higher among employed males (69.1%) than employed females (58.0%). While a higher proportion of Caymanians (74.4%) earned CI$2,400 or more per month compared to Permanent Residents WRW (68.3%) and non-Caymanians (56.2%).

Premier and minister for finance & economic development G. Wayne Panton, said:

“The results of the Spring 2023 Labour Force Survey are in line with other indicators showing an economy rebounding strongly from the suppressive effects of the pandemic with an expanded job market, increased demand for labour, and significant recovery in the tourism and construction industries. While these overall economic indicators are positive, I understand the concerns of many Caymanians that the increase in population growth has negatively impacted their quality of life. We must continually strive to balance overall economic growth with improved quality of life and increased opportunities for Caymanians.” 

Regarding the significant population growth, premier Panton, said:

“While the rapid rate of population growth is very concerning with regard to increased stresses on our infrastructure, public services, cost of living and the cultural balance of our society, the semi-annual Labour Force survey is a vital tool for the Government to use when planning new services, the expansion of existing services, and the proper allocation of resources – both financial and human.”

The premier explained:

“We can all anecdotally see that there are more people living and working in Cayman than ever before, but this impartial data allows us to act accordingly to address the significant resulting challenges. Although the rapid population growth of the past two years is something that could not be fully planned for in advance – given that it is a rebound effect of the pandemic, we are working steadily to improve our roads and transportation network, alleviate traffic concerns, and ensure that public services such as health, education, and safety are strengthened and expanded to meet increased demands.”

Premier Panton, said:

“Growth cannot come at the cost of peace of mind and quality of life. We must ensure that growth and expansion are sustainable. This is one of the key reasons why we need to be both strategic and far-sighted in our planning now and moving forward so we may ensure that all Caymanians and residents have a good quality of life within our shores.”

The premier noted that there was one aspect of the labour survey report that he found overwhelmingly positive and encouraging.

He said: “I am heartened by the decrease in Caymanian unemployment to the lowest rate in decades, showing that our people are benefitting from the economic growth through a return to the job market.”

Premier Panton underscored the importance of reducing Caymanian unemployment further, saying:

“It can be seen from the report that, as has long been the case, the highest number of unemployed Caymanians remain those without high school level education and further training. In the past two years, the PACT government has put special emphasis on providing training and upskilling to unemployed Caymanians, and we have steadily increased the budget allocations for scholarships and vocational training for school leavers and other young Caymanians. It is imperative that we continue to chip away at Caymanian unemployment and ensure that our people are profiting from the growth and strength of our economy.”

The Cayman Islands’ Labour Force Survey Spring 2023 Report is available here.



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