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Employment statistics decline, report says

Employment statistics in Samoa decreased by 0.4 per cent in March this year, making it the second consecutive quarter of negative growth since September 2019. 

The drop was highlighted in a report issued by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics on “Employment Statistics for March 2020 quarter.” 

According to the report, it stated that Employment numbers from December 2019 quarter recorded 24,377 but it decreased to 24,347 for March 2020 quarter.

The decline reflects the negative impact experienced by the country due to after effects of the measles epidemic. 

It has negatively impacted industries such as accommodation, personal services, construction, other manufacturing, commerce and transport.

The national State of Emergency declared within this period also contributed to the decrease in employment numbers for the period under review. The industries that made the largest contributions to the decline in employment in the March 2020 quarter were construction, accommodation, personal services, and transport.

The report also revealed that wages and salaries for the period under review recorded a 0.6 per cent year on year increase from $139.8 million in March 2019 to $140.6 million in the period under review. 

It also added that the formal employment index [is a measure of change on the employment numbers, with 2013 now implemented to replace 2009 as the base year in this current report] for the March 2020 quarter is the second quarter of negative employment growth in the period under review following three consecutive quarters of positive growth since the March 2019 quarter.

By percentage change, wage index increased [is a measure of change on the wages and salaries, it was compiled using the base year of 2013 replacing 2009 base year as indicated in other previous employment reports such as Issue 1 – 12] by 1.0 per cent in the March 2020 quarter compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019. 

Wage index continues to grow positively for five consecutive quarters. 

The growth in wage index attributed mainly through the increase in wages paid out to employees working in industries such as restaurants, commerce, food manufacturing, education, electricity and health with increases of 4.9 per cent, 4.2 per cent, 3.6 per cent, 3.3 per cent, 3.0 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

However, wage index for the period under review went down by -1.1 per cent compared to the previous December 2019 quarter.

The total number of employees in the formal sector in the March 2020 quarter was 24,347; of which 56.5 per cent were males and 43.5 per cent were females.

The total wages amounted to $140.6 million with males received the biggest share 54.4 per cent of total wages in the March 2020 quarter with females receiving only 45.6 per cent of total wages.

The quarterly average wages for March 2020 quarter amounted to $5,780. 

Males may have received the largest share of total wages but they earned less compared to females. Male’s quarterly average wages amounted to $5,557 whereas female’s quarterly average wages amounted to $6,061.

In March 2020, the services sector remains the biggest employer accounting for 63.1 per cent of the total formal population. 

Public administration as well remains the second biggest employer employing about 24.1 per cent; Secondary sector is the third biggest employer with 11.6 per cent followed by only 1.1 per cent of the total employed population employed within the primary sector.

In the year ended March 2020, total employed formal sector amounted to 24,449; 56.9% being males and 43.1% being females. Total wages paid amounted to $566.2 million. 

Employment covers all formally registered employees to the Samoa National Provident Fund.

This includes all industries in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and the public administration (private and public sectors).

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