Walter Blackman

The Human Unemployment Rate in Barbados – The Need to Develop an Entrepreneurial Class

Submitted by Walter Blackman
Walter Blackman - Actuary and Social Commentator

Walter Blackman – Actuary and Social Commentator

Prodigal Son July 5, 2016 at 10:57 PM

But wait…….is Fumble off his medication?

The man told a bold faced lie on DLPTV tonight ……….the man said in Guyana that unemployment is down to 9% and that jobs are coming back. Fumble, where? In Barbados? You have been travelling overseas too much….you got to be mad. Just last month in the CBB report, the governor said that unemployment was 11% (which is another big lie……..unemployment has to be over 20%), so how could it drop by 2% in 30 days? You ever see lies?

On August 16, 2015, I submitted an article captioned “The Human Unemployment rate in Barbados – A cause for serious concern.”

In that article, I argued that if we paid a little more attention to our labour force participation rate, and less attention to our more contentiously calculated unemployment rate, then we would end up having a far better understanding of the nature of our unemployment problems.

From the outset, let me state that I have witnessed the published unemployment rates being used by some individuals to praise the Owen Arthur administration for its handling of the Barbadian economy over the period 1994 -2007. Likewise, I have seen the similarly calculated published unemployment rates being used by the same individuals to lambaste and berate the Freundel Stuart administration for its perceived mishandling of the economy since 2010.

Now that recently published figures have shown that, at March 31st 2016, the unemployment rate stood at 9.3%, I therefore find it disingenuous on the part of some individuals to dismiss this figure out of hand, and to assert that the true unemployment rate has to be 20% or more. If individuals want to demonstrate consistency in their arguments, they must now offer congratulations to Mr. Chris Sinckler, the Minister of Finance in particular, and to the Freundel Stuart administration in general, for getting the unemployment rate down to this level.

I am acutely aware that fertility rates, unemployment rates, and labour force participation rates are esoteric subjects, so I will quickly present a few numbers to stimulate some thinking about our unemployment problem.

The total labour force represents the amount of working-age Barbadians who were educated and kept alive by some of the taxes which we all paid over the years. They represent a national resource that the country invested in, and is now looking to get a return from. Of course there are some individuals (those imprisoned, those in mental institutions, those deemed medically unfit to work etc.) who must be excluded from the workforce for practical reasons.

In 2013, our labour force was 214, 000. At March 2015, it was 224,000. At March 2016, it was 222,000.

As the Baby Boomers retire, and as the impact of our low fertility rates begin to kick in, our labour force will shrink. Contributions and taxes from our reduced labour force, as Artaxerxes pointed out, will have to support escalating health care costs and increasing NIS payments demanded by a relatively large, retired cohort of Barbadians. Some of these Barbadians will live forty years or more in retirement so we have to start maximizing the use of our labour force NOW.

In 2013: 126,300 persons were employed. Therefore the gross labour force participation rate was 59% for 2013. That is, 126,300/214,000.

At March 2015: 127,900 persons were employed. Therefore the gross labour force participation rate was 57%.

At March 2016: 131,300 persons were employed. Therefore the gross labour force participation rate was 59%.

These gross labour force participation rates are much too low to create or sustain national economic growth!

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart colourfully and simply stated that “the government’s nipples are sore”. By so doing, he informed Barbadians that we can no longer look to the Government of Barbados to provide jobs for our unemployed. In fact, the Government of Barbados was forced to shed some jobs as part of its effort to bring balance and stability back to the economy of Barbados.

Unemployment in Barbados reached an all-time high in the 2nd quarter of 2014 (125,000 persons were employed in 2014). A cursory glance at the number of persons employed in 2015, and 2016 therefore support’s Prime Minister Freundel Stuart ‘s assertion that the lost jobs have returned to the economy. Again, we need to congratulate the government and urge our ministers to keep pressing on.

These small economic gains represent a step in the right direction. The banks are awash with money and are paying savers practically nothing on their deposits. The credit unions are awash with money. Some black and white individuals and businesses are awash with money. Why does it appear that everyone is sitting down and waiting on the government?

Certainly, with a little creativity, ingenuity, and hard work we can take the risk of establishing our own businesses and put our fellow Barbadians to work.

At the individual level, we need to start asking ourselves some searching questions. What skills do I possess? Are they legally marketable? Do I really have to sit down and wait for someone to hire me?

Working in concert with his grandson, our own pieceuhderockyeahright, a prolific commenter on BU, has demonstrated to us how creativity and ingenuity can create opportunities for individuals. I would not like to see him achieve his political goals, but with all my heart, I would love to see the energy and hard work, which he puts into the conceptualization and creation of his posters, blossom and financially flourish.

Who could fault or envy pieceuhderockyeahright for trying “to show de grandson that his talents with the “stoopid cartoons” are of great use and that, if wisely positioned could be a revenue stream?”

This is precisely the type of thinking, at the individual level, which can help the country of Barbados to trudge out of its deep economic morass.

Who knows how far this new venture will go? Who knows how much foreign exchange it will bring to Barbados?

There is a small, but very important, piece of detail which pieceuhderockyeahright mentioned with respect to the development of his product – obtaining a copyright from the department of Corporate Affairs. If we are going to be successful businessmen and women, we need to pay attention to minute details such as this. Any Barbadian who is serious about owning a business should go to “Corporate Affairs” and register A CORPORATION.

When you arrive on the 7th Floor of the Baobab Tower at Warrens, you will spend many, many minutes waiting at the counter unattended whilst the employees pore over big binders and try to do their best as they struggle under the weight of an apparent archaic system. Do not expect to achieve your objective on your first or second visit, unless the stars are perfectly aligned with your birth sign on that day. When you manage to get past the “counter stage”, be prepared to stand in another line to pay your fees and receive your receipt. If it is after 3:30 pm, “crapaud smoke yuh pipe”. You have to come back another day.

In a world of e-commerce and “paperless” offices, the situation at Corporate Affairs leaves a lot to be desired. That office needs to be brought into the 21st century.

The Permanent Secretary responsible for the Department of Corporate Affairs needs to find a solution to the problem. It should not be left to the Minister.

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162 Comments on “The Human Unemployment Rate in Barbados – The Need to Develop an Entrepreneurial Class”

  1. William Skinner July 10, 2016 at 10:13 AM #

    @ David,
    I scarcely think that politics is the only way to get involved in our communities. Maybe I am just missing something. Do you care to elaborate? Thanks

    Like

  2. Artax July 10, 2016 at 10:15 AM #

    “However I would say that giving the high intensity of debate on BU over the years there are many angles from the wording of content or statements ging (given??) by individuals which would highlight such observations and give sufficient reasons of conviction to attract or raise a level of awareness as to the individual identity.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I’m not as intelligent as any member of the consortium of yard-fowls, but the REASON why someone writes UNDER a nom de plume is to CONCEAL their IDENTITY.

    Only an idiot would USE a PSEUDONYM and then CONSTRUCT his/her contribution in a MANNER that would “give sufficient reasons of conviction to attract or raise a level of awareness as to the individual’s identity.”

    It reminds me of a secondary school mate who sent a “love post card” to a girl he liked, wrote on the bottom: “From a secret admirer” and signed his name, “Rudolph *******.

    Such an undertaking is beyond reason and harrows me with more wonder than fear.

    However, perhaps on the other hand, you may have a point. Because, taking your reasoning on this and other matters into consideration, especially judging “from the wording of content or statements (given) by (you) which (has) highlighted such observations and give sufficient reasons of conviction to attract or raise a level of awareness as to your identity,” to wit, ignoramus yard-fowls.

    Like

  3. David July 10, 2016 at 10:23 AM #

    @William

    Of course you are correct that we can serve the public outside of politics. It seems though to make the greatest impact one must be wrapped in the colours.

    Like

  4. ac July 10, 2016 at 10:29 AM #

    lol very funny and since you are observant and very aware kindly give evidence by way of name who the many ac/s are ..although in similar fashion i have stated the obvious with a given reason as to why those regulars who have contributed on BU are empty vessels making loud noises far removed from being contributors to the overall development of Barbados with intents to contribute to self serve and attract others likewise
    More often than not there is nothing of content or persuasive action to think otherwise
    However my standing order remain as is to You Artax to revealed by way of content for identification purposes who these many ac/s are rather than provide speculative banter

    Like

  5. Watchman July 10, 2016 at 10:55 AM #

    @ Walter Blackman

    Barbadians has allowed a cesspool from George Street to run and instead of interring in grave yard, it seep up in the H of P,

    How much money did the Transport Board owes the NIS before 2010 , how much are owed to the BWA workers who are ready to stop work ,how much are owed to UCAL, the UWI, even the poor Black person on sick leave

    Like

  6. Artax July 11, 2016 at 7:56 AM #

    “…although in similar fashion i have stated the obvious with a given reason as to why those regulars who have contributed on BU are empty vessels making loud noises far removed from being contributors to the overall development of Barbados with intents to contribute to self serve and attract others likewise. More often than not there is nothing of content or persuasive action to think otherwise.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I agree.

    Your above comments ACCURATELY DESCRIBES you and your contributions, especially taking into consideration that you are ALSO a “REGULAR.”

    If you actually harbour such CONTEMPT for BU and its contributors, WHY DO YOU WASTE TIME MAKING MULTIPLE COMMENTS on EVERY ISSUE posted in this forum for “discussion?”

    Essentially, by the contents of your contribution, you have admitted you are an idiot.

    However, you should start as an example for us to follow, by INFORMING BU what CONTRIBUTIONS you and your ilk have made “to the overall development of Barbados with intents to contribute to self serve and attract others likewise.”

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t give a shiite about the number of ACs that comprise the consortium and I care much less about your identities.

    Like

  7. ac July 11, 2016 at 8:32 AM #

    Well there u have it from the horses a.ss having much of nothing to support his accusations against ac.but quite happy to make presence known in his exuberance to attack and villify
    Firstly u have been on a mission to expose my identity for several months engaging in desperate analogies or speaking of specfic attire .
    So dont get here and pretend as if u do not care because it is obvious that u do going by your recent content and your methods of trying to identify ac/s with your riduculous comments. Your are one bold faced hypocrite truly a natural kin to the blp

    Like

  8. Artax July 11, 2016 at 9:14 AM #

    “Well there u have it from the horses ass having much of nothing to support their” criticism of BU.

    Interesting you used two paragraphs to respond to one sentence in my contribution. Don’t be bothered if I’m “a bold face hypocrite” or a member of the BLP. You demonstrate your “bold faced hypocrisy” each time you criticize BU and then becomes its MOST FREQUENT CONTRIBUTOR.

    Rather, you should have FOCUSED your ATTENTION on the SUBSTANTIVE point in my overall comments.

    If you actually HARBOUR such CONTEMPT for BU and its contributors, WHY DO YOU WASTE TIME MAKING MULTIPLE COMMENTS on EVERY ISSUE posted in this forum for “discussion, even those ABOVE your level of intelligence?”

    You should start as an example for us to follow, by INFORMING BU what CONTRIBUTIONS you and your ilk have made “to the overall development of Barbados with intents to contribute to self serve and attract others likewise.”

    Like

  9. David July 11, 2016 at 9:29 AM #

    BU’s biggest critics are logged on to the site more than others and post more comments. As an example AC posted the most comments in 2015. Hypocrites indeed.

    Like

  10. ac July 11, 2016 at 1:04 PM #

    How much like a thousand enough to keep you David busy. Lol

    Oh Artax enough contributions to deny Mia and the blp party the coveted prize and barbadians agree
    Good enough for me

    Like

  11. Colonel Buggy August 9, 2016 at 5:49 PM #

    An entry for the Prime Minister’s and the Minister of the Environment Innovation Award

    Like

  12. Donna August 9, 2016 at 6:01 PM #

    BLP, DLP, BLP, DLP. Everything reduced to partisan politics. Is this all there is to some people’s life? The choice of one failed party over another!!!!

    Like

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