Unemployment near 10%

| 17/01/2011

(CNS): The labour minister has revealed that the unemployment rate in the Cayman Islands is currently at 9.9%, according to statistics compiled by the Economics and Statistics Office. Rolston Anglin told members of the Legislative Assembly on Friday that there were 2,417 people registered with the Department of Employment Relations (DER), with 977 of them saying they were unemployed. Explaining the discrepancies, the minister said the way people are registered creates duplication and many people who are employed register in order to seek a new position. The minister pointed out that the figure compiled by the ESO was different to the DER’s list as, he said, the department was not responsible for calculating the unemployment rate. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Answering questions posed by the opposition member for George Town, Alden McLaughlin, the minister revealed that most of the 977 people whom the DER said were without work were Caymanian or married to a Caymanian and only 129 were permanent residents but all of them had the right to work in Cayman. The statistics from the DER also suggested considerably more women than men were registered as unemployed, with 573 of the 977 listed as female.

He further revealed that almost 100 of those seeking work had said they held a degree or a professional qualification, and as a result the DER was focusing on trying to get those people into work as it was obvious they should be the easiest to place.

The minister revealed numerous problems at the department, saying it was not best placed to deliver services to the public. He said the job market without proper electronic registration and some kind of assessment tool, and until job seekers could be properly assessed, the staff could only register applicants in accordance with what they toldthe department.

He said he was, however, close to making a decision on a proper professional online registration and assessment tool that would enable the department to match people to vacancies and communicate with the Work Permit Board. Anglin said that, at present, employers complain that when a candidate is sent by the DER they are more often than not unsuitable for the position and he said the only way this could be address was to a way of professionally assessing people.

He spoke about the legacy of problems in the department based on how people were registered, the failure of candidates to inform the jobs unit that they had moved, the inability to verify the work experience of applicants and multiple registrations as preventing the unit from matching job-seekers to vacancies. He said that the department had only successfully reached half of the 977 who say they are unemployed

Despite the problems, however, the minister said that during 2010 the DER had placed 166 people in jobs.

He said it was understandable that people would find it unacceptable that there was such a high number of people looking for work when there were more than 20,000 permits, but that could not be resolved until there was a professional system in place.

The Work Permit Board has had concerns about the quality of information coming from the DER for many years. CNS recently saw a copy of a memo that had been circulated by the former chair of the board just over one year ago questioning the statistics provided to the board by the DER and the mismatch between figures. It raised concerns that, while the DER was publicly claiming that over 843 people were looking for work, a closer assessment of those figures revealed that it was 346 — a significant discrepancy.

“It is very important that we have reliable data going forward or we will not make the best informed decisions as a board,” he said at the time.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Something about an unemployment rate of 9.9% does not compute. The unemployment rate is generally defined as the number of unemployed persons divided by the labor force, where the labor force is the number of unemployed persons plus the number of employed persons. The labour force in Cayman has to be at least 30,000. This would mean that just under 3,000 persons are unemployed, yet the DER has only 977 registered as unemployed, and it appears that the DER has previously overstated unemployment figures. I appreciate that the 100 persons mentioned may represent only the minority of persons with college degrees who are unemployed but who choose not to register with DER but even if this was increased by a factor of 4 it would still add only 300 persons. How did the ESO arrive at a rate 9.9%?  Was it based on the recent census?  

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s high number and could get higher if many Caymanians refuse to get off their butts and take a job. Sorry I’m a born and bred Caymanian and my parents always instilled in me that you won’t get any hand out in life so hardwork and honesty is to only way to go. The younger generation has this you owe me complex and feel that government will always be able to assist them even when don’t have an education so I say do training and get an education so that you’re qualified because of your abilities.

    If you ask most business owners what is most important to them hiring a Cayamanian or an effective and productive worker ? it’ll be the latter. So let’s get off our high horses and DER start doing a better job in getting Caymanians to want to work, please.  For locals I know that it’s a difficult time and I know Caymanians are discriminated against and often over looked yet don’t give up as there’s always an opportunity to succeed around the corner.

    Employers need to also try to see that paying an expat $6 compared to $10 for an equally qualified Caymanian doesn’t prosper in the long run as if that person is unemployed then the social implications of crime is higher.We need to look at building solar and wind farms, develop NBZ (New Business Zones) with lower cost, rebuild the Hyatt and Marriott Courtyard, get rid of the rollover and don’t forget cut crime.

  3. George Smiley says:

    We need to take the bull by the horns and get rid of all the non Caymanians who are doing jobs non academic Caymanians "can do". Gardeners, security guards, baggage inspectors at the airport, block layers,car washers, waiters/waitresses, etc etc. We need to ban them from being appointed so that only Caymanians (especially those who showed up for Xmas work) can be employed. If problems arise and Caymanians don’t show up or are useless etc then document it so that people like Ezzard ("Caymanians are the best workers in the world") know what’s happening.

    A born Caymanian landscaper said to me last month he has  given up on Caymanians as he has had terrible grief with them not showing up for work. But he refuses to give his name as he fears the "Ezzard factor".

  4. Former Inside Trader says:

    "The minister pointed out that the figure compiled by the ESO was different to the DER’s list as, he said, the department was not responsible for calculating the unemployment rate".

    So why is the minister speaking out of both sides of his mouth? I smell some sort of cover up, but what is done in the dark will eventually come to light.

    Who is responsible for calculating the rate then? Where did he come up with the 10% – doesn’t the ESO hold a census every 10 years? So who provides these figures, did minister Anglin and his team wake up and decide on this figure to satisfy a few? Or did they use the totally unreliable numbers from the DER? Thank god for FOI.

    The DER is farce and lie and I’m glad people are starting to see the DER for what it really is – it’s a useless tool for Caymanians seeking employment. The have labor inspectors, but ask them how many on-site inspections they have done in the last year of local companies that continue TO KNOWINGLY break the law, one could probably count the amount on amount amone hand.

    Immigration officials and officials in External & Internal affairs need to answer to the public for allowing the DER to operate for so long knowing very well it’s continues to provide the public with misleading information.

    Shame on the Caymanians in authority from the deputy governor to the Chief immigration officer and her deputies for not doing more for the Caymanian cause. They know these things are happening but yet they little are nothing to remedy to problems.

    I hope next month when the ESO start releasing the real information from the census that the truth is released, no coverups please.  In these numbers the government will start to understand and hopefully open their eyes and see the issues and threats we are faced with by Unemployment, the government needs to start taking this and other issues more serious, look around and see for yourself, have you ever seen a Cayman like this before that is total despair. God help us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anglin & the UDP come in like NObama & the democrats, they promised so much during campaigning but have delivered so little. They have both made things far worse, unemployment being just one failed promise. No surprises here. Unfortunately in both cases the good have to suffer with the bad after they were constantly warned but did not listen. Oh well, as the saying goes "if you can’t learn you will feel," and OMG are we feeling it real bad now!

      • Anonymous says:

         Nobody really delivers on what they platform for because they know how easily people are fooled

  5. Dumb it down says:

    "If you don’t wanna shake that hood mentality, how the %^&* are you going to change your reality!?!" Ice Cube 2009.

    Think that pretty much sums up the why a lot ofmy fellow Caymanians are unemployable.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Shame on Caymanian business owners for not employing their own.There children will be in the same boat soon.

    There is nothing wrong with the economy except that a larger percent of the population is working for low wages and budget their wages.They budget by not living comfortably but by renting a space to sleep in.They also budgeting their food to sharing with their countrymen.

    This is understandable for their low wages but our own Caribbean and Latin neighbors tend to have a balance of their spending and living comfortably.

    They do shop locally.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow imagine the number of unemployed if the CIG cut the excess fat and employed motivated persons (i.e. not having 2-3 persons doing a job that 1 qualified motivated person could do). 

    I think we caymanians should be happy with 10%.

  8. Anonymous says:


    What about the people that are employed in construction that are now held as financial hostages to the present labor law which states that an employer can temporarily layoff an employee for a period of six months before severance has to be paid.
     This law in the past has often been abused as an unscrupulous employer can call back a temporarily laid employee close to the six month deadline, employ that person for the minimum time period required and then start the whole process again by serving another temporary layoff.
    Obviously no employee could survive this type of starve out tactic and would be forced to except, if available, any kind of employment which would be tantamount to resigning from his previous employer and forgoing all severance pay.
    In any other democratic country to my knowledge severance is paid immediately. This moneyis made available to tide a person over while they look for another job. It also benefits the economy as that person is able to pay his bills and survive in a reasonable manner until they are reemployed.
     This law is draconian and harsh as it doesn’t only affect the immediate person but has a knock on effect to all family members and eventually the social fabric of the country.
    This law should be reformed immediately.
    • Anonymous says:

      Holy cow — wth!  I’ve been laid off a couple times due to circumstances outside of my control. Guess what — I didn’t get a severance in any of the 3 instances. My only recourse was to go find a new job instead of sitting on my ass for six months hoping for a payout.

  9. Anonymous says:

    129 permanent residents out of work! wow we don’t need anymore of the on PR’s they end up being a strain on government !

    • Anonymous says:

      how are they a strain?  are they also getting free handouts? 

      • Anonymous says:

        Mayb Mayb not why be so eager to increase the population if our own ppl with bachelors and master’s degree are out of work

  10. Wally says:

    Rolston should consider resigning, failed us miserably.

    • Not Surprising says:

      Is anyone surprised?

      It will continue to get worse as more "Caymanians" come to Cayman from the Status give-aways of 2003 by McKeeva Bush.

      People dontlike to hear this and say we should put this event in the past, but we can never put it in the past as we will always be affected as more people will continue to be granted Status through those who recieved it by this lotto style granting, like it or not. We have to face up to reality.

      We must never forget the people who have burdened us forever with this problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        you are being rude 

      • Anon says:

        We should NEVER forget the status grants, the impact of not screening people and that these people have irrevocable status. There were 1000 of them voted last time, imagine how many there will be next time! Bye the way, thanks for making me a second-class Caymanian McKeeva! My status can be taken away, despite the fact that I have lived here for 33 years!

    • Pending says:

      "The minister revealed numerous problems at the department, saying it was not best placed to deliver services to the public.

      He said the job market without proper electronic registration and some kind of assessment tool, and until job seekers could be properly assessed..
      He said he was, however, close to making a decision on a proper professional online registration and assessment tool that would enable the department to match people to vacancies and communicate with the Work Permit Board."
      How stupid is this guy and the Department of Employment Relations? What exactly do they do?
      How can the DER not be best placed to deliver serivces to the public? IS THAT NOT WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING?
      Is this Department living in the dark ages? Do they not already have computers? Do they not look at a persons application and then match it to available jobs? WHAT THE F*** DO THEY DO, SERIOUSLY?
      They have to have proper online registration in order to help people get a job?
      This clown has contradicted himself from start to finish, he has offered no solutions to the present situation and we pay him and the rest of this Department how much?
      Everybody needs to resign, it is blatantly obvious that they cannot do a thing, AT ALL.
      • McCarron McLaughlin says:

        Dear Pending,

        I agree with you 110% – this is all hogwash by the Minister and he knows it, he know very well the DER has a system in place already that can easily handle registering Caymanian and matching them when permits are in, but like almost every serious issue this government is faced with it never addresses the issue like men with backbones, but always find convenient excuses.


    • blame whom?? says:

      if we start blaming the Minister of Labour for high unemployment….we are in bad shape, that will mean we have NO clue what is happening on our Islands.

      Look around you, unhappy>>>because of unemployed Caymanians when we have such a high percentage of working expats….ask why Caymanian employers are Not hiring more of their own….

      I am an expat, ( and now so-called paper-Caymanian ) worked for a Caymanian employer. I am living here for 35 years. I trained "many" Caymanians in a management position; the ones that wanted to gain experience… they are employed. ( yes we still hug when we see each other, because Caymanians and expats care for each other>>>that part has not changed<<< if it did I must have missed that part somehow ) We learn from each other, gain experience through each others knowledge; it is not a matter of nationality, but living with strict work ethics.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, but what the hell are you talking about?? Your post is not quite coherant.

  11. Anonymous says:

    There will never be a professional system until employers (especially CIG) are able to hire and keep professional people instead of certain voting factions.  Just 80 more years.  Lets all start the count down.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not surprising. Nothing has happened with labour since Rolston became Minister of Labour, and Alden left it in despair.

  13. Anonymous says:

    the vast, vast majority of these people are unemployed by choice….

    • Anonymous says:

      you are somewhat right Anon 10:46, but i would not say most, although a good portion are forced to register with DER or they don’t get their Social Services chq each month.


      Correct me if i’m wrong, but i believe "unemployment" does NOT include those NOT looking for work but are under retirement age and already wealthy, those bums and beggars who are not looking for work, or other persons at or above retired age. Now, if that is true, just imagine what percentage of the static Caymanian employed population that is unemployed here – sounds more like 30 percent now eh…

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is a sad commentary on Cayman today when so many people are out of work yet work permits continue to be issued for positions which could be filled by suitably qualified locals.  Many of the ads placed are for permit renewals yet qualified Caymanian applicants are still overlooked.  In fact some applications are not acknowledged, and to reach short list and interview stage, is almost impossible.  Government itself is guilty of this practice with one or two professional positions recently advertised, in which there was a distinct lack of courtesy and professionalism shown by HR departments.  I know.  I experienced it.  No acknowledgement, no contact, no returned calls, someone already earmarked for the job.

    Everyone knows that whilst permits are necessary as there are insufficient locals with international qualification and experience needed to fill many of the roles advertised there is no doubt that a few qualified persons are overlooked.  

    I cannot include menial workers, tradesmen and many others etc in these comments as I have no idea how many Caymanian gardeners, maids, waiters, administrative and support persons there are out of work and these comments are only for professionally qualified people.  There are a number of professionals looking for work as well.

    I also wonder whether all positions are in fact properly advertised as I meet a lot of different people whose positions I have never seen advertised.

    There is a strong rumour that the Government has a specific policy of approving permit renewals, and in fact is encouraging new permit applications. to enable them to increase their revenue.  There is also a desire to replace the numbers who have left the island in an effort to boost local business to pre rollover and recession levels.

    Government must also set an example by being more courteous and receptive as well as advertising all of their available positions in the local press.

    No one is against permit holders and most with common sense understand the need.  There are always more positions than people and qualifications and experience are a must.  We need to boost business here as a matter of urgency however whilst qualified locals are on the market , more effort should be made to find them, speak to them and if they are suitable, hire them.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So, 60% of the employed persons are unhappy and looking for something else ?


  16. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Rolston what we need  is a proper committee to oversee the big companys to access the ratio of caymanians working in that particular company. In this studies you would find a 10:1 meaning for every 10 expacts you will find one caymanian. This is why crime rate is increasing. yes people might say we have lazy caymanians. But they need to reme,ber this is our country. We cant go to jamaica and set up shop there to lessen the local vendor revenue. Another thing they fail to understand we dont have a exchange rate a dollar is a dollar for the caymanian. i have nothing against expacts. What i have against some is the level of ignorance against caymanians. We have familys to feed as well. another thing they need to look into in the next assembly meeting is min. wages. how can a caymanian servive of of $5.00 an hour. This is litterally to me spitting in a caymaniansface. If cost of living raises so should our PAY!!!!

    • scratchin' me head says:

      Learn to spell, you might have a better chance of getting a job!

      • Anonymous says:

        I can diffinately spell. I have a great job for your information. Am talking for my people. This is the same ignorancy am talking about before. I speaking for the graduates of 2011 and before. Each Year over a 1000 students graduate. Some may continue there education. Some will try going straight in the work force. Not all will be employed. This is when they start rob you and me for little or nothing. I had 3 businesses before i went back into the working force. Reasons for errors before is because i had to type fast because i was at work.

        • anonymous says:

          "I can diffinately spell", oh oh – ("makes popcorn, sits back…") 

    • Anonymous says:

      This first reply (09:53) to the story fairly well sums up the problem.  Regrettably, not in the way the writer intended. 

    • Anonymous says:

      the poor level of your literacy, punctuation and grammar and the basic lack of understanding of economic markets and business – reaffirms why you are not progressing.

      Its not the expats fault. It is yours for not educating yourself (or taking advantage of the free education offered to you). 

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon 16:16 I agree that Caymanians need to educate themselves and continue to educate themselves even beyond their school years. However a lot of the low and mid level jobs do not need high levels of education. A number of the expats are hypocrits. They get Caymanians with education but still hire expats.

        In recent times they are even attacking quality of education at ICCI and UCCI saying that they are substandard. They attack the grads required to go to these schools and the grades that they get. I have no problem with lowering the level of requirements to get into these schools as long as the students and keep up. At the end of the day the paper means nothing if the students cannot show the ability to work and the schools are teaching enough.

        • Anonymous says:

          Level of education from UCCI/ICCI is substandard in some cases. Some students in the entering classes are doing REMEDIAL WORK, stuf fthat should have been learned and passed in high school. I know a 19 yr old that is taking remedial math, learning how to round, whole numbers, decimals etc. What the heck! And then I saw the exam the 19 yr old took and saw the grade was 57/100.  Very very sad that a class like that should even be offered in COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY LEVEL. That student should not have been passed in high school. And unfortauntely UCCI/ICCI have to wipe up after the high school kids graduating not knowing anything. SMH.

      • Anonymous says:

        how in the world is our fault? for your information i was typing quickly while at work!!! For someone that dont know the level of my education shouldn’t even utter about grammer. I’ve work various places and analized these things before i said it. Am not changing my statement for anyone because it’s the truth. I’ve seen expats get free gas free living from big companys. Half of the time they don’t have the qualifications to work in the prospective position. That maybe the reason you had to answer my comment. As i said before i have nothing against expats. so next time choose what you say carefully because you don’t know who’s on the other end of the computer it might be your boss you are talking to…

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m an expat. Please tell me what companies (check your spelling, no matter that you are typing from work, you make yourself appear uneducated) are giving expats free living free gas so that I may go there to apply since all companies in your eyes are preferring expats to Caymanians. Stop living in a dream world.  We work our a$$es off for the salaries we earn. We pay student loans for the college degrees or graduate school degrees that we obtained in order to get a good job here or anywhere. You should do the same.