Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2020. 6:26 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) announced this week that it made several changes to its Labour Force Survey (LFS) to create a more accurate picture of Belize’s labor force. The newly revised LFS, which included some necessary adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now form the benchmark for future labor force surveys.
The SIB explained that the classifications for “Employed,” “Unemployed,” and “Underemployed,” people have been updated which has dramatically altered the results produced by the survey.
The definition of “Employed” has been updated to factor out people who produce goods mainly or exclusively for family consumption, volunteer workers, and unpaid trainees and interns.
“Three criteria are now required to classify persons as unemployed: persons who were without work, carried out activities to look for work within the last four weeks, and were available to start working within the next two weeks,” the SIB said. “The definition previously used made reference to two of these criteria only: persons without work and available to work. The criterion “looking for work” was not a requirement in the previous definition. ”
For “Underemployed” people, the definition has been updated from the standard criterion that they are working less than 35 hours in the reference week, to include that underemployed persons must also want to work and be available to start working additional hours within the next two weeks.
Under these revised definitions, the estimated size of the labor force fell from 217,471 to 168,630. The number of persons considered to be “Employed” fell from 153,098 to 145,455; the number of persons considered to be “Underemployed” fell from 64,373 to 23,175, and the unemployment rate fell from 29.6 percent to 13.7 percent.
“With the implementation of the revised international definitions, results from the September 2020 round of the survey have become less comparable to those from previous years,” the SIB added.
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