The island’s persistently high unemployment rate dropped slightly to 16.2 percent in April, representing a 0.7 percentage point reduction from the 16.9 percent rate on record for the same month last year. When compared to March 2010, the current rate is also down, by 0.6 percentage points, Labor Department statistics released Thursday revealed.
The number of unemployed in April reached 205,000, a reduction of 9,000 when compared to the prior months total and 16,000 fewer than the 221,000 jobless in April 2010.
The agency’s latest data places the island’s workforce at 40.3 percent in April, which reflected reduction of 2.0 percentage points when compared year-over-year.
The industrial sectors that recorded increases in April were: government (1,400) education and health services (1,100); trade, transportation and utilities (1,000); and finance (100).
“Increased employment in the government sector is due to more contracts in the Education Department,” said Labor Secretary Miguel Romero, who earlier in the day met with Rafael Alburquerque, vice president of the Dominican Republic who visited the island Thursday to, among other things, exchange ideas with local government officials on ways to help the local Dominican community in terms of jobs and education.
On the flip side, sectors that lost jobs were: manufacturing (1,400); recreation and lodging (800); professional and business services (600); mining, logging and construction (400); and other services (100).