KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Jamaica continues to record declines in murder, and other serious and violent crimes, with the numbers falling by 11 percent for the first six months of 2013.
Programme director for the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) Plan Development Unit, Richard Lumsden, who made the disclosure during the agency’s quarterly media briefing on Tuesday, said the murder rate for January to June 2013 was 19.9 per 100,000 persons, down 3.4 percent, from 20.6 per 100,000 for the corresponding period in 2012.
In the case of serious and violent crimes, inclusive of murder, shooting, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, break-ins, and larceny, there were 172 per 100,000 persons for January to June this year, 10.6 percent less than the 192 per 100,000 over the similar period in 2012.
“These figures continue the downward trend in crime rates that began in June of 2010, for a third consecutive year,” Lumsden noted.
The crime statistics were presented as the PIOJ continues to update the nation on the progress of the National Dashboard of Indicators under the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica.
Lumsden said that 2013 marks the third year since the introduction of the National Dashboard of Indicators, which track overall progress toward improving national and social well-being.
Turning to other matters, Lumsden reported significant improvement in the levels of qualifications of persons comprising the labour force.
He told journalists that 24.2 percent of the total labour force is equipped with vocational or professional certification, based on the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (STATIN) quarterly labour force survey for April 2013. This, he explained, is a 1.6 percent increase over the corresponding findings in April 2012.
PIOJ director general, Collin Bullock, advised that the number of persons employed, as at April 2013, rose by 8,700 to 1,107,400, based on the STATIN survey.
He said a breakdown of the employed labour force statistics by industries, shows that 10 of the 16 groups recorded higher employment levels.
“The largest increases in employment levels were recorded in wholesale and retail, up 17,000 persons; real estate, renting, and business activities, up 7,500 persons; and education, up 5,800 persons,” he outlined during the briefing.
Despite the increase, the director general said the unemployment rate as at April 2013 stood at 16.3 percent, 1.9 percent higher than the figure recorded for the corresponding period in 2012.
“The higher unemployment rate... reflected the increase in the size of the labour force. Jamaica’s labour force for April 2013 comprised 1,322,500 persons, an increase of 38,900 persons compared with April 2012, due to the combined effect of more people looking for jobs (i.e. joining the labour force) and an increase in the number of people of working age,” he explained.
Bullock also said that several sectors recorded decreases in employment levels, based on the survey’s findings. These, he said, include: public administration and defence, down 10,000 persons; manufacturing, down 7,200 persons; hotels and restaurants, down 4,800 persons; and financial intermediation, down 3,000 persons.