A note on unemployment in Barbados

Author(s): Warner, Ann-Marie (1998)

Created 22 Jul, 1998
Categories Working Papers
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Throughout the years, one of the main policy objectives of Barbados governments has been to reduce the level of employment in the country. While the most recent statistics indicate that the number of unemployed persons may be on the decline, falling to 12.2% of the labour force in the last quarter of 1997, the unemployment rate still lies well above that recorded for the more industrialized countries of the United States (4.7%), Canada (8.6%) and the United Kingdom (5.0%). Although this has been a major concern to policy makers, few Caribbean researchers have attempted to address the problem of unemployment. This is indeed unfortunate as it affects the social fabric of a country and is considered to be one of the main indicators of economic health. The aim of this paper will therefore be to determine some of the causes of unemployment in Barbados in the hope that it may contribute to a better understanding of this problem that has plagued Barbadian society for so many years. The first part of the paper will look at some trends of unemployment in Barbados over the period 1980 to 1996 and examine various labour market policies adopted by government and other decision makers to reduce unemployment. In the second part of the study, emphasis will be placed on the construction and estimation of an Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model of the labour market. Herein lies the contribution of the paper to the topic of unemployment in the country as such a model has not been developed to address this issue in the country.

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