Unemployment persists despite economic growth

| 28/05/2018 | 103 Comments
Cayman News Service

Finance Minister Roy McTaggart in the LA

(CNS): The finance minister painted a rosy picture of Cayman’s economic growth and government’s fiscal prudence when he appeared at an economic forum Friday. Roy McTaggart pointed to growth in the economy of 2.9% in 2017, with the construction and tourism sectors leading the way, but Minister Roy McTaggart also revealed that Cayman’s unemployment rate is still at 4.9% — higher than the jobless rate in the United States. He also revealed a steep increase in inflation, which was down at -2.3% in 2015 but is expected to reach 2.7% this year.

In a key note address at the Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum, McTaggart said stronger demand for domestic goods and services was driving Cayman’s annual inflation, which he said was projected at 2.7% in 2018, 2.6% in 2019 and 2.4% in 2020.

The finance minister also spoke about unemployment, but despite the figures, claimed that this was going in the right direction as the workforce itself was increasing. Unemployment is predicted to fall to 4.4% by the end of this year, 4.2% next and down to 4% by 2020, but that puts the rate of unemployment here higher that the predicted rates in the US, despite the need in Cayman to recruit almost half of its workers from overseas.

In his address McTaggart said that “contingent on the sustained strong recovery of the labour-intensive tourism services as well as the implementation of planned infrastructure projects, greater
employment opportunities are expected to push down the unemployment rate”.

Given that unemployment reached a rate of 4.9%, McTaggart noted the growth in the size of the workforce by 1.1% in 2017 and expectations for further growth this year. The minister said that this growth was also fueling the unemployment rate because he believed more people had entered the workforce seeking jobs due to improvements in employment prospects.

“The government sees these improvements in the employment rate as a continuing trend and believes it is justified in that viewpoint,” he said.

The growth in the economy and GDP, which is now the seventh highest in the world, is largely down to development, and McTaggart pointed to the construction sector and government’s own capital projects as the future drivers of economic growth. Construction is forecast to grow by 8.4% in 2018, 10.5% in 2019 and 6.8% in 2020. Like previous administrations before it and with the growth in the offshore sector falling slightly, the government will continue to depend on development and population growth for its economic success.

According to the minister’s statistics, the population in Cayman at the end of 2017 was 63,415 people.

Turning to government’s own fiscal prudence, McTaggart pointed to the more than CI$1 billion that government collected in revenue over the 18 month period between June 2016 and December 2017. He said government has an unaudited actual surplus of $137.6 million for that same period after spending costs ended at just over CI$886 million.

See the minister’s full address in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, Economy, Politics

Comments (103)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You know, I was told some Caymanians are in denial…just not the river in North Africa

  2. Anonymous says:

    Based on the comments here, it seems we have a bunch of entitled expats

    • Anonymous says:

      12:18, yeah you are right. Caymanians aggressively look for work. Most employers would agree with that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If unemployment only affects those who are unemployable, how come a high school/college student returning home for summer can’t even get a response from most companies when applying for an internship or summer job?

    I mean everyone goes on and on about how Caymanians don’t show enough initiative etc but when kids who are working on a higher education abroad want to get some work experience during their time off from school can’t even get a courtesy reply (even just to advise that application was received but unsuccessful), what does this say about many employers here?

    Yes there are people who are unemployable and every country has its fair share of such people, but the same old story about how Caymanians are not educated enough, not educated at the right education, not having enough work experience, too lazy bla, bla bla is getting reallllly old!

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor babies, I use to work as a dishwasher or busboy when in school. Made spending money, kept me off the streets. Did not pay much but a little is better than none. Don’t see that attitude much anymore.

      • Anonymous says:

        You missed the point. Ads for job vacancies are geared towards imported labour. How can someone have a degree in finance and then be told they do not have enough experience!? How will they get the experience when they are net even given a chance to work in their field?

        For right now, the Cayman Islands is finance and tourism, and it seems like all the expats feel entitled to the finance jobs. Going as far as abusing their position of seniority and giving jobs to friends and friends of friends.

        Corruption is rife in these Islands, but its not only Caymanians involved in it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Maybe it is because they know (from experience) imported labour is dedicated and hustles. Yes, no??

        • Anonymous says:

          A lot of the businesses that are hiring just expats are owned by people that use to be expats…what else is going to happen…they hire their uncle, cousin, son in law, from back home and they get to live in cayman…we threw status around to people that don’t truly care to live here just to make money…blame all this on the politicians not expats

  4. A says:

    It would be good to find this elusive third pillar of the economy that has evaded us for so long. Obviously there is a skills gap amongst some in the local population and continued investment in education and skills training will help to address some of it.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:26am, let the powers that be go out to the private sector and check their employees job/positions in accordance with their permits and they will find out how devious dome of them are. They hire at a clerical level but paying at a hire level, They are evading work permit fees and keeping he locals on the lower pay scale and expects them to show/teach them the ropes. The locals can’t be promoted but they must be teachers. It is fair? No!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, but the majority of the unemployed locals, are simply unemployable, bringing more issues and absenteeism to the workplace than what is acceptable, or viable.

    • Anonymous says:

      All now, no knows how many out the unemployed are qualified college graduates. Its all speculation with this bull crap that all unemployed Caymanians are unemployable, and it’s getting old.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lets stop playing with numbers. If government knows who is unemployed, they must provide that list to all of the employment agencies, to see which of the candidates can actually qualify for a job. Pay the agencies the standard commission for placing candidates. At the same time, the government should publish a list of the unemployed – without naming names, but give them a reference number – and specify qualifications, work experience, how much time in their last 3 jobs, something like a proper résumé. Set up a process where employers can choose who might be of interest. Then we’ll see who gets interviews, and we’ll see who even turns up. There’s a phrase; put up or shut up.

    For the unemployed Caymanians at the bottom end of the scale, match them with suitable jobs as gardeners, labourers, security guards, airline agents, supermarket cashiers, waiters, fedex drivers and cleaners who have work permits; cancel the work permit, give the permit holder 3 months to go, and appoint the Caymanian in their place. Simple. Promote 2 Caymanians and you get another work permit. Promote 2 more Caymanians and get a 2nd work permit. Sack the Caymanians without cause and lose the permits. Easy to be constructive when you are really interested in solving the problem.

    Alongside all of this, make tertiary education meaningful. Degrees should not be easy, stuffed with useless content. You only have to look at UCCI and ICCI course details to see that they are Mickey Mouse. Who needs to do classes in West Indies history when studying for a science degree. Then when scholarships are awarded, don’t expect graduates to return to Cayman if there’s no chance of a job in that field. There are only so many positions available in psychology, forensics, aircraft engineering, botany. You want permits to go down ? Promote studies in management, banking, trusts, landscape gardening, investment management, hotel management, civil engineering, insurance. By all means sponsor degrees overseas in subjects not relevant to the Cayman workplace, but celebrate graduates taking up roles overseas.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with most but kicking out a work permit holder at 3 months before you know if said Caymanian is going to stick with it? That will cause companies to be stuck with duds and have lost out on a hard worker.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good idea, but if you think for one second that CIG really wants work permit numbers to go down, then you are not living in the real world my friend.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Aldart isn’t listening…his family is fine

  8. C I T Happening says:

    It works both ways: For every Caymanian who will not work because of the ‘entitlement’ philosophy, there is another who went away to study, came back and can’t get a job because the businesses can get a work permit for half the proper salary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Half the proper salary or half the entitled salary?

      • Anonymous says:

        Too many go away to very weak institutions in Florida. That is not a positive on a resume.

        • Anonymous says:

          so now its that they have the education but its not good enough? How does that stack up against a Filipino working for cheap labour wages with an inferior degree? Stop moving the goal post. First they were entitled, now they are educated and inferior

          • Anonymous says:

            It is clear to see the expats have an agenda to eliminate the Caymanians and take over these islands. Their comments alone show that they think we are inferior.

        • One of the big problems is that Florida has so many weak post high school institutions that Caymanians study at. 12:59 is absolutely correct in this view.

      • Anonymous says:

        For half the employee

      • Anonymous says:

        If the public could really see the disparity between what most foreign workers are paid compared to the qualified locals in finance there would be a civil war on this island. There is saying that goes, “What you don’t know, dose not hurt.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds very American to me.

    • RICK says:

      Simple stop expat labour.

      • Anonymous says:

        FYI: your entire economy is an expat economy. You’re a rock in the middle of nowhere with no natural resources. Also FYI: Cayman is not the only place in the world with beaches, clear water and sunlight.

        • RICK says:

          Best you pack your bags to the places you mentioned

        • Anonymous says:

          9:13am, before you came along, who started the show and who were the actors and actresses? Was it you? No! This rock is toppling with convenience grabbers. Welcome to the Zoo.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is the only place that you can get paid twice or more than what you were paid back home. So yea, i understand your motive, rape and pillage the islands, stack up, and go home when there is nothing left that is worth your time.

          I know your kind too well. You join all of these clubs and organizations outside of work to gain brownie points in hopes of getting you permanent residency. You smile and pretend that you have Caymanians best interest at heart, until you get what you want, then your true colours show.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not entirely true. Caymanian salaries are not that great, particularly when you factor in the cost of living. When I moved to Cayman, I actually rejected a higher paying job in the UK. I did it because I love to travel. Cayman was the seventh country that I have lived in (i.e. for more than 6 months) and, at least the thirty-third that I have visited. Now I am back in the UK, I am again earning more than in Cayman. However, I did have a lovely time and met a lot of really nice people.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:3pm, some are being used, and are afraid to open their mouths. When the would be hopeful goes for an interview, the salary offered is at the lowest end of the scales, only to discourage them, while they promote their expats.

  9. Anon says:

    No one expected the Spanish Inqisition…

  10. Say it like it is says:

    Out of that CI$1 billion how much went in paying civil service related salaries, medical claims, pensions and other perks and how much in subsidising the Turtle Farm and Cayman Airways?.Did we have enough left to buy text books for our schools?.

  11. Anonymous says:

    There is no unemployment. There are some voluntary unemployables, the convicts, the drunks and the junkies and there are those that do not want the many jobs they could have.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about ..shut up or go home

      • Anonymous says:

        12:16, the truth hurts, doesn’t it? Get your head out of the sand

        • "Anonymousir" says:

          sadly its true.. most “locals” want to work and get paid without working. I have seen where a Caymanian has a job and is told what to do, and as the boss walks away. “I NAH DOING THAT BOBO! Who he think he is, tell me what to do” … SADLY … the truth hurts, they want easy money without having to work. . and thats 95% of Caymans Mentality. Don’t believe me? Last few drug raids conducted and arrest made .. Caymanians! Looking to make that easy money so i can sit on their ass all day … and do nothing. SAD …. its sooooo SAD, but its true. and i was raised to understand, the truth hurts!

    • Ron the Observer says:

      Wow… what an incredibly misguided statement. Quite likely you live in a highly protected bubble for this level of ignorance to still be imbedded in you.

      Even in highly successful labor market around the world, unemployment is inevitable so the goal is always to keep it as low as possible. For you to say there is no employment….I don’t even know why I’m wasting words here because you likely won’t understand what I’m saying nor will the persons who liked your ridiculous comment

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe those unemployed think they are qualified for positions which they are not. They should try applying for a lower level or entry level position. You know, get your foot in the door and work your way up…

        • Anonymous says:

          Never! I was born here and I demand the most pay and vacation. Lol

          • Anonymous says:

            Don’t forget to include sick leave in your vacation entitlement. That’s an extra 2 weeks right there, happy days. Now I’m not saying all take advantage but we all know the system is taken advantage of, by both Caymanians and expats.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly what I’ve been trying to do and until I’m hired into the industry I would like to be in I have taken any other job in order to pay my bills.

        • Anonymous says:

          Caymanians cannot even get entry level positions because of the discrimination that happens here.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Zero unemployment is a myth. Don’t agree?. Show us one country that has zero unemployment. Ya, didn’t think so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too low an unemployment rate is very inflationary. Cayman is already at zero real unemployment.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Channel Islands have a rate of 1-1.5% and a similar requirement of working under license, not zero, but a lot better than 4.9%.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure about Guernsey but as far as Jersey goes, while there is an employment licence of sorts it is nowhere near a work permit, more an administrative bit of paper that once you have you can change job at will and after five years is not needed. I suspect the vast majority of residents, both local and non local don’t even know it exists.

        They control population by housing laws and the unwritten premise that if you screw people enough they will not hang around.

        The big difference is their education system is fit for purpose.

        I’m not looking to join the debate just pointing out that it’s not apples with apples.

      • Anonymous says:

        In economic terms that is zero unemployment or probably marginally below zero and it is very unhealthy for an economy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sure. Compare their education system to ours. European or Caribbean standard?

      • Anonymous says:

        and as I said, zero unemployment is a myth. Are we playing horseshoes? My question was “show us a country that has ZERO unemployment”.

        Not show us one country that has a better unemployment rate than ours.

        What you just did is called moving the goal posts.

        • Anonymous says:

          I guess it depends on what you call zero unemployment, my definition would be a job for everyone that is willing and able to work. I guess yours is a bit more literal. And yes I didn’t answer your question, it was plainly stated in my reply that i hadn’t, what I did was highlight the fact that other countries have managed to get close to zero unemployed and that Cayman hasn’t, and could do better.

          Zero unemployment is only unobtainable in countries limited by their workforce, Cayman could get there due to its size and ability to pull in workers on demand. Zero unemployment in a limited workforce would restrict growth, if you have an unlimited workforce then yes, it’s possible.

          It’s not possible to employ everyone, but then the unemployment rate isn’t a measure of that.

          Btw I could give you plenty of countries with a rate better than Cayman’s, best I could get was Qatar at 0.1%.

  13. Anon says:

    I like the slant with which this was written. We have always wondered how work permit numbers can rise, while unemployment drops. Never made sense but then again its the usual Govt rhetoric that only misleads the masses.

    • Anon Truth says:

      All this does , as is evident here , is to bring division to ALL in Cayman. Keep us fighting so we can’t work together. A typical tool used by Govts the world over to control its citizens
      By this thread, it seems to be working!
      Wake up people, life is too short to allow yourself to be a puppet.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am pretty sure that if all Caymanians went on time to work, on a daily basis, and did the job that was asked of them to do, unemployment would be closer to 0 per cent. Unfortunately, some Caymanians feel too entitled to do certain jobs for certain pay. And then of course, there are those who wouldn’t even think of doing an honest day’s worth of work. They’d rather be gangbanging, smoking weed, drinking liquor, or being baby Mamas and, later, neglecting their children, to the many fine, upstanding Gangstas this Island has to offer. Before anyone gets too offended by the truth, this happens in all countries around the world. Due to Cayman’s relatively smaller population, it seems a bit more evident…

    • Anonymous says:

      Enough with this tired argument that has been around before the 80s.

      The reality of the situation is that, Caymanians are returning home with college degrees and professional qualifications, which their parents (and/or government) has paid a lot to finance. These college graduates are being told that they should go work for Burger King (no issues with this employer) as their best career opportunity. Yet, private and public sector are bringing in unqualified expats and paying for them to be educated on the job.

      This is the real issue. Let’s not lose focus.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is one of the issues. Correct. I will not deny that. Note that I did not say ALL Caymanians, and also note that I also mentioned that this is strictly a Caymanian problem only – it happens in all countries around the world. But let’s not deny the fact that many among those 5 percent belong to those Caymanians who could not be bothered to work at Burger King, or in some other entry level position…or are too hooked on drugs to show up to work, or would rather smoke weed, or would rather do nothing at all…etc. If you truly want to find a job in the Cayman Islands, you will find a job. As for those companies who bring in unqualified expats instead of hiring from the qualified Caymanian pool on the island, those employers need to be heavily fined, and have their work permits revoked.

    • Anonymous says:

      Firstly, I watch expats stroll their way into work after 9 am regularly which is a nice perk and position to mount a complaint like yours about Caymanians who are typically required to be at work by 830 am. Second, not all Caymanians live less than 10 minutes from work (or can afford to for that matter)… those living in the eastern districts spend upwards of half hour each day on their way into work and easily as much on their way back home. Isn’t this a hypocritical comment?

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s it 2:42, excuses.

      • Anonymous says:

        No it is not. I spend an hour to travel to and from work, and I make it to work on time each and every day. I am not talking about those who on occasion arrive to work late. I am talking about those who are chronically late or chronically absent. Big difference.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Roy making $11,000 a month of course he will paint a rosey pic of things! While they have their heads in the sand 1,000 people protested in the BVI about this upcomming benificial owners list! Cayman is full of good slaves and i can assure u when this list is mandated and made public many politickers will be revealed for their corruption!

    • Anonymous says:

      I doubt Roy is doing this for the money as ex Senior Partner at KPMG!

      • Anonymous says:

        Not senior partner for long though

        • Anonymous says:

          I bet he still made more dough than you’ll ever see in your hateful little life.

          • Anonymous says:

            woah there…trust me I won’t even make partner…but I only the limited time as I would have guessed he made more money as an excellent partner at KPMG before having the managing partner position that you constantly throw around like a hunter speaking of game they have bagged.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really I though Mr Roy had got lost ,

  16. Anonymous says:

    Unemployment rate is not the percentage of population that doesn’t have a job but the percentage of people who want to work and are looking for a job but don’t have one.

    That is why 5% unemployment is regarded in the US and elsewhere as full employment.

    Bottom line is that it isn’t that caymanians can’t get a job but not the job they want or think they deserve. So a significant part of that unemployment rate is actually self generated from choice.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is truly tremendous news, thank you to our great Premier and the rest of his unity team. Four more years!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t the head of government claim there would be 0% unemployment. An idle promise perhaps.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Psssst,I have a secret. Public registrar.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just another day in the whacky private sector. Caymanian HR managers and small business owners. This is on you.

    I am sick of hearing why don’t people hire Caymanians but small businesses don’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      Small businesses cannot carry the burden of carrying dead-weight. Once the burdne is taken on, it can be very hard to get rid of it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well answer me this, why is it that several Caymanian business owners that I know, are forced to apply for work permits because the Caymanians that they continually attempt to employ, simply refuse to turn up for work on a regular basis?
        If a small business requires staff to function, it will fail if the staff that are employed simply treat it as a means of welfare.
        Where I work (a very large organization) most Caymanian staff will have already taken the maximum number of sick days for this year by now, they are continually late for work and will be gone to run some “errands” long before the end of their working day!
        It’s no wonder that government entities are strapped for cash, when productivity is so abysmally low

        • Anonymous says:

          Well maybe if we got the pay and benefits that expats get, we wouldn’t have to be running out to do so many errands and showing up for work so late, our lives would be in a much better order.
          Oh it is fine to pay a Caymanian $3000 a month but a non experience expat can’t work for less than $5000 a month plus benefits, oooh the Cayman working world is so fair and balance.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yeah, 11:28, Caymanians are the ONLY group in the world that has errands to run. You are so right. It should be recognized. Thanks for pointing that out.

          • Anonymous says:

            Where is it that I can get payed $5000 a month?! Inquiring expats want to know!

            • Anonymous says:

              Inquiring locals would like to know about the $3000 per month jobs as well, almost twice as much as some of us are on currently!

          • Anonymous says:

            I am an expat and I receive exactly the same pay and benefits as my Caymanian colleagues..pull your head out of that dark place and stop displaying your ignorance and racist attitudes….you are the problem!

          • Anonymous says:

            11:28 is a lost cause, they listen to fake news. Most expats work cheap cheap cheap! Where are the domestic helpers, nannies, gardeners, cleaners, car washers, and fast food workers from? Get your head outta your rear and work harder to get paid.

        • Anonymous says:

          It seems you are broadly in agreement with the post you seem to question. Decent workers do not see a number of sick days as soft vacation entitlement, yet that attitude is woefully common in the local economy.

        • Anonymous says:

          Many expats in the office don’t have to use their sick days, they just work from home or go on gold days “for business”. FACTS!!

        • linda reise says:

          This comment is spot on!

    • Anonymous says:

      HR = uncle tom’s abusing the rules that gave them jobs….low life

  21. Anonymous says:

    My God, they are not making this up. They truly have no clue.

  22. Anonymous says:

    there will always be some unemployment…get used to it.
    caymanian unemployment is by choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      You dont believe that now…many cant get opportunity in thier respective fields and so therefore tennis players dont play baseball…basketballers dont play rugby.

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly, spelling isn’t your field, with “cant, thier, dont” being a few of the examples…

      • "Anonymousir" says:

        but you go and play baseball until that opportunity presents itself to go play tennis. GO flip some wendys burgers before you get to sit down at some law firm where u really want to be. DO YOU THINK a pilot leaves flight school and gets a job right away? NO, HE HAS TO work his way around, build hours and experience and then, one day, HES A CAPTAIN for some Major Airline. SOMETIMES, even tho you have a damn degree, YOU HAVE TO START at the bottom. BUT MY CAYMAN PEOPLE , DO NOT WANT TO START AT THE BOTTOM …. and thats where the problem lies …

        • Anonymous says:

          A pilot surely is not forced to go flip burger or clean toilets once they get their license. They probably will not be captain or first officer of a commercial jet, bu they will surely fly an aircraft.

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