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Are you thinking about moving to The Bahamas? The Bahamas offers much more than its stunning beaches and natural beauty. People who enjoy the outdoors will find many activities available, from world-class golf to some of the best boating in the world.
Plus, low tax rates top the list of reasons to move to The Bahamas! But what happens when you arrive? Are there opportunities for work on the Friendly Islands?
The top-paying Bahamas careers include judge, dentist, pilot, finance manager, and college professor. Are these roles readily available? And what is the unemployment rate in The Bahamas?
Like many other world regions, unemployment rate in Caribbean nations grew in 2020 and 2021. However, The Bahamas appears to be rebounding economically as tourism and other impacted industries re-open to the greater global community.
Unemployment Rate in The Bahamas
According to the Inter-American Development Bank, the unemployment rate in The Bahamas is about 18% as of 2022.
The unemployment rate measures the percentage of available and non-disabled adult workers seeking work. It doesn’t include unemployed individuals who haven’t looked for work in the last month.
Unemployment Rate in The Bahamas, Year-Over-Year
Fortunately, today’s 18% unemployment rate is an improvement from December 2020, when 25% of Bahamian citizens and residents were actively seeking work. Forty-seven thousand workers, or 20% of the entire workforce, were included in the unemployment rate.
The Bahamas unemployment rate then dipped down to 13.2% in 2021, and back up to 18% in 2022.
A review of the past decade provides interesting insights into the history of unemployment in The Bahamas and allows for future projections.
- 2002: 9.05%
- 2006: 7.56%
- 2010: 14.31%
- 2013: 16.18%
- 2014: 13.8%
- 2015: 12%
- 2016: 12.7%
- 2017: 9.8%
- 2018: 10.00%
- 2019: 10.7%
- 2020: 25.26% (peak of COVID-19 pandemic in December 2020)
- 2021: 13.32%
- 2022: 18%
- 2027 Forecast: 11.43%
Sources: IDB, Global Economy, Statista
Youth Unemployment Rate in The Bahamas
The youth unemployment rate focuses on individuals aged 15-24 seeking work with no results. In The Bahamas, the youth unemployment rate was 30.78% in 2021, which is higher than average. Historical data also sees youth unemployment rates hover between 24%-30% since 2018.
However, The Bahamian government is working to combat youth unemployment through a series of incredible educational programs, including:
- Private Sector Summer Employment Partnership: Summer employment opportunities for youth aged 16-26 at private sector organizations with a valid business license.
- Fresh Start Programme: A structured program and placement helping youth access resources, tools, and information to apply for and retain a job.
- National Youth Parliament Programme: Introduction to parliament for youth, teaching them about current issues and presentation skills in the House of Assembly.
Unemployment Rate Forecasts
Forecasts for the unemployment rate in The Bahamas are optimistic as the country rebounds from the economic impacts of Covid and natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian in recent years.
Statistical calculations from the IMF project an average rate of 13.9% for this year and 12.7% for 2023.
Causes of Unemployment in The Bahamas
The Bahamas experiences unemployment for a few reasons. Some experts describe cyclical unemployment as a top cause. This phenomenon means unemployment occurs in a cycle of economic downturns stemming from recessions, natural disasters, and more.
Like anywhere else in the world, recessions decrease the demand for new builds, limiting construction opportunities and, thus, jobs in construction.
Recently, unemployment has been a negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But historical data shows The Bahamas in a relatively healthy light regarding unemployment.
Unemployment in The Bahamas Due to Covid
COVID-19 dramatically impacted employment rate in The Bahamas. Tourism is the primary industry in the country, accounting for an estimated half of the nation’s GDP.
The Bahamas not only draws people visiting the islands directly but is also a popular cruise stopover destination.
Of course, COVID’s subsequent travel restrictions seriously hindered The Bahamas’ booming tourism industry. The result was a loss of tens of thousands of jobs and $9.5 billion.
Travel restrictions and a lack of visitors halted economic growth and drove unemployment rate high, as hotels and tourist destinations shut down until late 2020.
But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Experts predict a full recovery to a pre-pandemic economy and tourism industry by 2024.
Unemployment Benefits in The Bahamas
The Bahamian government offers Unemployment Benefits (UEB)to those under 65 and actively looking to rejoin the labor force. The country also expanded benefits during COVID to cover individuals not typically eligible under its national plan.
The National Insurance Board (NIB) is the agency responsible for administering the nation’s social security program, providing income replacement in the case of involuntary loss of income, maternity, retirement, sickness or invalidity, death, and industrial injury. As of July 2020, there were over 34,000 claims totalling over $60 million in benefits.
When a person starts working in The Bahamas, they must register with the NIB. Then, contributions are deducted every week from the employees wages. To qualify for UEB, individuals must have at least 52 contributions on file. This entitles them to receive up to a maximum of 13 weeks of benefits in a year.
The average claimant receives 8-10 weeks of benefits, or about 50% of the worker’s average insured weekly wages. The NIB has a wage ceiling of $670/week, so the most that a claimant can expect to receive is $355/week.
Bahamas Unemployment Rate FAQs
What is the inflation rate in The Bahamas?
Today’s Bahamas inflation rate is at 7.1 %, which is almost as high as the USA. That’s about a one percentage point increase from 2021’s 6.2%.
Historical data shows that the average inflation rate from 1967 to 2021 hovered at approximately 4%.
What Caribbean country has the highest unemployment rate?
In 2021, The Bahamas had the highest unemployment rate among Caribbean countries at over 21%. However, that isn’t the norm. COVID-19 shot the rate much higher than in recent years.
Experts predict Colombia will have the highest unemployment rate in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by 2026.
What is the minimum wage in The Bahamas?
The Bahamas minimum wage was previously $5.25/hour or $210 per week, which translates to a salary of $10,080. However, the Bahamian government recently announced a minimum wage increase to a weekly $260, translating to a $12,480 salary.
What is the currency in The Bahamas?
The Bahamian dollar (BSD or $B) is the official currency of The Bahamas, but US dollars are accepted and used almost everywhere. The Bahamian dollar is tied to the USD at a fixed one-to-one ratio.
What are the economic benefits to living in The Bahamas?
Alongside its natural beauty and rich culture, living in The Bahamas also has several economic benefits.
1. High GDP
Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the monetary value of all the goods and services that a country produces. The Bahamas has the second-highest GDP per capita of all the Caribbean nations. Plus, it ranks 64th globally, which symbolizes a growing economy.
2. Living Costs
While The Bahamas can have a higher cost of living compared to the rest of the Caribbean, cost of living in The Bahamas is similar to that of the United States. Of course, cost of living ranges depending on where you’re living in The Bahamas, the chosen education provider for your children, and other adjustments.
3. Low Taxes
The Bahamas is a tax haven for businesses and individuals alike. There is no income tax or corporate income tax. Plus, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on profits from property purchases.
What about the infamous VAT tax? Value-added tax (VAT) is not collected on basic goods and is overall very low.
4. Strong Industries for Investment
Financial services (including fintech and banking) and tourism are two booming industries in The Bahamas. The banking sector is ripe for innovative investors, and real estate opportunities abound. Furthermore, anyone looking to enter the hospitality business has many options in The Bahamas.
Overall, The Bahamas has a generally strong economic outlook and is an attractive option for its low tax rates and high standard of living.
Live and Work in The Bahamas
The Bahamas recently experienced a high unemployment rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but unemployment rate projections show an improvement in the future. Plus, the year-round sunshine, low taxes, impressive wildlife, and warm locals make the move 100% worth it.
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