BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 20th, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris told the nation at today’s press conference that St. Kitts and Nevis recorded solid job growth in 2015 coupled with an upward trend in wages.
Prime Minister Harris said that data from Social Security show that, for 2015, the average number of jobs stood at 24,333. This is the largest number of jobs recorded in Social Security’s history. Importantly, too, the country’s wages in 2015 ($72.27 million per month) represent one of the highest payroll figures on record and reflect a 7% increase over the wages paid in 2014 ($67.57 million per month).
“The comparative analysis with respect to earnings revealed that the earnings landscape has changed,” the Prime Minister said, adding that, “We saw that the distribution of persons earning in the lower wage categories declined while those earning in the higher wage categories increased. Thus we may posit that the wage distribution has improved and persons are enjoying higher wages in this term than in the previous term. We saw a move from 30 percent of jobs paying in the minimum wage category in 2014 to 26 percent of the jobs paying at the minimum wage in 2015. There were corresponding increases in the medium-earning categories for 2015.”
The Prime Minister said that, while members of the opposition like to pretend that nothing is happening in the economy, “The data speak for themselves and are unequivocal. Dr. Harris also said that, “Learned, respected and experienced economic academics and practitioners are commending my Government.”
Prime Minister Harris stated that when ECCB Governor, Mr. Timothy Antoine addressed the Cabinet on Monday, he expressed high praise for the Team Unity Government’s outstanding management of the economy. “He also commented on the fact that so much economic activity was happening in St. Kitts and Nevis, in contrast to the bulk of the other member states in the sub-region,” Prime Minister Harris added.
The Prime Minister also made reference to an April 12th Latin Trade article titled “The Stars of the Caribbean.” The first sentence in the article reads: “New projections from Cepal show sustained growth in Panama, the Dominican Republic and St. Kitts and Nevis.” CEPAL is the Spanish translation for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (also known as UNECLAC or ECLAC).
The April 2016 ECLAC report revised its GDP forecast for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis upwards from 4.7% to 5.1%. This stands in sharp contrast to ECLAC’s forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean. In the April report, ECLAC said the region would see its total GDP dip by 0.6% this year.