Negative employment growth again

The ongoing negative economic impacts of COVID-19 have led to a sixth consecutive period of negative growth since December 2019, dropping by 0.5 per cent for the March quarter, new figures show. 

The figures are in a report titled: “Employment Statistics for March 2021 quarter” issued by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) on Wednesday.

According to the report, negatively impacted industries included accommodation, construction, restaurants, transport, other services and business services.

“The employment index experienced negative growth in the previous years and has continued on until the quarter under review which makes it the sixth consecutive decline after the highest positive growth rate recorded in September 2019,” read the report.

The bureau said the disruption caused by the significant effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on normal business operations continues to cause job losses in the country’s hardest-hit sectors. 

Industries driving March 2021’s quarterly decline include accommodation (–60.2 per cent), construction (-25.7 per cent), restaurants (-11.7 per cent), transport (-8.2 per cent), other services (-4 per cent) and other manufacturing (-2 per cent).

The total number of employees recorded as being in the formal sector in the March 2021 quarter was 20,220. From this total, 56.5 per cent were men and 43.1 per cent were women. 

The services sector remained the biggest employer for the quarter, accounting for 61.9 per cent of the total formal population. 

Public Administration was second and employed about 25.4 per cent of employed people, with the secondary sector as the third with 11.5 per cent. Only 1.2 per cent being employed within the Primary Sector. 

At the industry level, Public Administration employees composed 25.4 per cent of total employees: 46.4 per cent of which were men and 53.6 per cent were women. 

“Commerce was the second biggest employer comprising 15.6 per cent of the number of people employed; 59.0 per cent of which were males and 41.0 per cent were females,” the report said. 

“Other Services was the third biggest employer employing about 11.2 per cent of the total, consisting of 52.8 per cent males and 47.2 per cent of females. 

“Transport, Personal services, Finance service and Health were the next biggest employers with shares of 7.6 per cent, 5.8 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively of the total.”

In addition, the lowest number of employees working in the agricultural and fishing industries account for only 0.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively of the total workforce. 

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