Report reveals "unprecedented job losses" as pandemic bites

The negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown on Samoa's job market has led to "unprecedented job losses" in Samoa. 

The issue is revealed in a report called “Employment Statistics for June 2020.”

Compiled by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics, the report says the employment numbers in Samoa as of June 2020 declined by 3 per cent.

“The Employment Index went down in December 2019 and continued on up to the quarter under review which makes it the third consecutive decline after the highest positive growth rate recorded in September 2019,” the report reads.

The report points out that the decline reflects the local and global impact of the coronavirus. In Samoa, the border shutdown and other restrictions have negatively impacted on industries such as accommodation, construction, restaurants, transport, personal services and others.

“The disruption caused by the effects of the COVID-19 on normal business operations has led to unprecedented job losses and layoff in some of the hardest-hit economic sectors such as accommodation, restaurants and transport and so forth has led to the decline in employment in the period under review," the report reads. 

“Accommodation, Construction, Restaurants and Transport recorded respective declines in employment of -26.6%, -6.0%, -3.0% and -2.2% respectively in the June 2020 quarter.”

In the year ended June 2020, the number of people employed in the formal sector amounted to 24,430; 56.8 per cent being males and 43.2 per cent being females.

The total wages paid amounted to $563.7 million with males receiving the biggest share of total wages with 54.0 per cent of the total and 46.0 per cent being female wages.

However, the total average yearly wages received in the year ended June 2020 was $23,074. Females were recorded to have had the highest average yearly wage of $24,551 while the male average yearly wage was amounted to $21,950.

Wages and salaries for the period under review recorded a 0.8 per cent year on year increase from $140.4 million in June 2019 to $141.5 million in the period under review.

In June 2020, the Services sector remains the biggest employer accounting for 62.9 per cent of the total formal population. Public Administration as well remains the second biggest employer employing about 24.3 per cent; Secondary sector is the third biggest employer with 11.7 per cent followed by only 1.1 per cent being employed within the Primary Sector.

 The financial year under review experienced negative growth in the last three quarters within the period.

The country was engulfed by the Measles epidemic outbreak in the December 2019 quarter which initiated a State of Emergency towards the end of the quarter. 

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