Over 250 jobs lost last year
Statistics released by the Samoa Statistics Bureau (S.S.B.) showed a drop in the number of workers in formal employment at the end of 2019.
A report produced by the S.S.B. titled Employment Statistics for December 2019 Quarter showed that at the start of last year a total of 24,636 people were in formal employment.
But that dropped to 24,375 at the end of the last year, meaning 261 people left formal employment, and coincided with the peak period of the measles epidemic that claimed over 80 lives.
The decline in the employment numbers was attributed to the measles outbreak which coincided with the period under review directly affecting industries such as accommodation, transport, personal services and restaurants.
The data covers all formally registered employees with the Samoa National Provident Fund.
It includes all industries in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and public administration (private and public sectors).
The report further stated that out of the estimated 24,375 population employed as recorded in the December 2019 Quarter, 57 per cent of them were males and 43 per cent females.
The employment index recorded in the December 2019 Quarter also showed a drop of 0.3 per cent, when compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018. Conversely, the quarter under review also declined in terms of the employment index by 1.1 per cent when compared to the September 2019 quarter.
The report further added that the industries that made significant negative contributions to the year-on-year decrease in the Employment Index were accommodation, transport, personal services and other manufacturing with negative growths of -6.2 per cent, -4.3 per cent, -2.9 per cent and –2.1 per cent respectively.
Wages and salaries for the December 2019 Quarter also recorded a $142.5 million (or 1.0 per cent) increase over the corresponding December 2018 quarter.
The total wages, which amounted to $142.5 million, have males receiving the largest share (54.0 per cent) of total wages in the December 2019 quarter with females receiving only 46.0 per cent of total wages.
And while the largest share of the total wages earned went to male employees for the December 2019 quarter amounting $5,847, it was the females who earned more on average of $6,238. Consequently, females earned 12.4 per cent more than their male counterparts in the quarter under review.
For December 2019, the country’s services sector remains the biggest employer, accounting for 63.5 per cent of the formal employment population.
Public Administration was the second biggest employer, employing around 24.1 per cent, followed by the secondary sector with 11.3 per cent and only 1.1 per cent of the total were employed in the primary sector.
The secondary and public administration sectors also experienced positive growth of 1.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent whereas the primary and tertiary sectors declined by 7.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent compared to December 2018.
Commerce was the second biggest employer of males recording average quarterly wages of $3,947 to make it the fifth lowest average wages paid for males.
Although the public administration sector employs the highest number of male employees (19.9 per cent of total male employment) and the highest total wages paid ($21.1 million), this industry did not have the highest average wages paid out.
“As recorded for the public administration Industry, an average quarterly wage of $7,654 is paid out which is the fourth highest average wage for males,” stated the report.
Similarly, public administration was the biggest employer of females and had the highest total wages paid out ($26.0 million), but that was not the highest in terms of average quarterly wages.
The health industry had the highest average quarterly wages of $9,087, followed by communication and electricity with an average of $8,934 and $8,857 respectively. Other services which ranked 12th in terms of average quarterly wage, also had a high percentage (12.2 per cent) of females employed within this industry.
The lowest average quarterly wages for females were reported in the agriculture ($3,083), accommodation ($2,863) and restaurant ($2,381) industries, according to the report.