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St Lucia’s job numbers: PM Pierre’s leadership and policies stimulate record low employment, 14 percent nationally

By Caribbean News Global fav

TORONTO, Canada, (CNG Business) – The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) of Saint Lucia reports that “last year’s hiring surge significantly reduced the unemployment rate to a record low of 14 percent nationally.”

“The quarterly unemployment rate in 2023 consistently improved when compared to 2022,” the OPM analysis outlined.

“The 2024-2025 estimates will lay down the foundation for sustainable growth in the economy, which will provide real hope for our people, hope that will provide investment and employment opportunities across all major sectors of the economy. We were able to achieve this feat, despite the precarious position of the economy in 2021 and worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Revenue from Individual Income Tax is estimated at $128.7 million. This represents a 2.0 percent increase from the 2023-2024 revised estimates. The increase is attributed to higher employment levels. Income tax arrears is projected at $27.0 million. The projected increase is expected to be driven by increased economic activity.” ~ Budget 2023/2024.

The OPM press release on April 2, 2024, emphasised that “leadership has inspired confidence in the local economy, and noted that “Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre’s policies stimulate economic activity and connect ordinary Saint Lucians with new job opportunities.”

The consecutive declines in the unemployment rate every year since Prime Minister Pierre came into office in July 2021 were accessed as follows:

“ •21.9 percent 2021: •16.5 percent 2022; and •14 percent 2023.” ~ OPM

The OPM reports that the “government was able to finalize numerous foreign investment projects – building on the economic momentum from 2022,” with the addition of Secrets Resort and Spa Saint Lucia.

“Small businesses are vital for our economic development, and the government, under the prime minister’s leadership, is investing heavily in the local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector,” the OPM continued. “The Youth Economy Agency and MSME Loan-Grant Facility are breaking down barriers for our youth and local entrepreneurs by connecting them with resources, training, soft loans, and grants to fund their ideas and fuel their aspirations.”

The OPM also stipulated that Saint Lucia ended 2023 on an economic high with record-low unemployment numbers for the fourth quarter.

“ In 2023, fourth quarter unemployment stood at 13.6 percent nationally. Unemployment trends for the fourth quarter have typically remained above 20 percent since 2011.” ~ OPM

A quick review by a regional economist and former finance minister observed the fourth quarterly gains and seasonal adjustments noted that “a drop in the unemployment rate does not necessarily suggest an increase in job creation. On the contrary, a drop in the unemployment rate could be a result of a decrease in the labour force due to an increase in discouraged workers opting out of the labour force.”

The OPM advised:

“Local businesses are also benefitting from the encouraging economic comeback post-Covid. The Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has confirmed that its members hired more workers and reported increased profitability in 2023.”

An increase in Saint Lucia’s economy will be gradual to return to some sense of normality, taking into consideration low unemployment and low inflation.

A mix of “development projects” and “infrastructural projects” experts say, at the very least will likely turn the economy around tapping into billions of dollars and taking into account the economy’s overall health.

St Lucia’s 2024/25 budget proposal: The Year of Infrastructure

Saint Lucia’s job market has the potential to be diversified, according to the activated and continuing projects for 2024/2025, the government has unveiled. The second option is for the potential job market to be resilient.

The keys to such lies in dealing with inflation, the cost of living, and the cost of doing business in Saint Lucia. It’s too high!

Annual inflation is projected to remain high in 2023 at 4.3 percent and then to decline to around 2 percent in the medium term, says the IMF report on Saint Lucia.

“We intend to continue to expand our digital infrastructure by completing key projects that will improve the delivery of government services to the public and reduce the cost of doing business,” Prime Minister Pierre noted in his budget speech 2024 /2025.

Should a 12-month run on “development projects” and “infrastructural projects” hold steady, with a “decent housing market nationwidewith a mortgage-payment-to-income ratio – experts suggest the economy will strengthen, low unemployment and low inflation will stabilize, and make Saint Lucia the preferred island in the Caribbean region.

@GlobalCaribbean  fav



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