2.1% growth rate…commends PSC for presenting economic recommendationsWith Guyana’s growth rate regressing, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has stepped up to the plate by compiling a report detailing several recommendations to put the country on a path to greater economic growth.PSC Vice Chairman Desmond Sears hands over the report to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. Also in photo is PSC Executive Director Elizabeth AlleyneThat PSC “Action plan for the sustainable development of Guyana” report was formally presented on Monday by representatives from several PSC member organisations to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who saluted the gesture. According to the former President, Guyana is presently adrift when it comes to economic strategies from the Government. This renders the PSC’s input timely.“I believe that we’re adrift now policy-wise, as a country. Predictability and clarity (of policy) are very important for the future and for investments. So, any role we can play in helping to create that environment, (we will play).”He noted that he was happy that the Private Sector has taken “this bold step of trying to put things on paper, so then you’d have a specific response from Government about those measures”.“Personally, I’m not hopeful that that would happen in the Government, due to the deficit of understanding of what makes an economy tick…,” he continued.Jagdeo reminded that the PSC has played critical roles in the past to help previous Governments strategically plan their economic policies. He pointed to its role as job creators in an economy where recent reports indicate there was a large number of the unemployed.“I think it’s great that the Private Sector bodies of Guyana, they’re taking a leadership role in helping to define a future Guyana. We do have challenges now, and I think we have to work to overcome these challenges.“Nevertheless, I remain optimistic. The Private Sector is a critical stakeholder in wealth creation and by extension jobs and well-being. They must be listened to and be part of a process of contribution to the creation of that vision,” Jagdeo stated, adding that he and his team would take time to study the report before making comments on its contents.UnemploymentAn Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded quarterly Labour Force Survey done during the period July to September 2017 had revealed that the unemployment rate for persons aged 15 and above was 12 per cent. In addition, the situation for women was found to be substantially worse than that for men.The survey was done from a total population of 550,831 persons aged 15 years and above, with some 72.2 per cent living in urban areas. Given these figures, only 271,068 persons comprised the total employed population during the time of the quarterly survey – 166,873 males and 104,195 females. Urban workers totalled 188,774, while their rural counterparts numbered 82,294.The labour force participation rate for all persons aged 15 and above is 56 per cent, roughly equal to the corresponding 2012 value of 55.7 per cent. All other data gathered were compared to information contained in the 2012 census.According to the findings of the survey, unemployment among women was 15.3 per cent and among men 9.9 per cent. The youth unemployment rate among 15 to 24-year-olds was almost twice that of adults, with 21.6 per cent. Young women continued to face severe hardship, with 28 per cent of them being unemployed.Meanwhile, the employment rate for persons aged 15 and above was 49.2 per cent, with 62.1 per cent being males and 36.9 per cent being females. It was noted that the percentage of employed people in time-related underemployment was 4.2 per cent, with 72.2 per cent of the underemployed based in urban areas. The survey also found that 28.4 per cent of the labour force is underutilised, while between 48.3 per cent and 52.6 per cent of the persons employed hold informal jobs.“The percentage of male workers holding informal jobs is higher than that of female workers (57.6 per cent for males as against 44.6 per cent for females),” the survey detailed.Further, it was found during the surveyed quarter that the average salary per month for employed workers is $82,636 while the figure decreases to $67,064 for self-employed workers.Guyana’s unemployment rate is coupled with 2017’s growth rate of just 2.1 per cent. Previously, Government had said the economy was expected to grow by 2.9 per cent, failing to meet the revised growth projection of 3.1 per cent for 2017.The initial projected growth of the economy was 3.8 per cent. This was, however, revised by midyear to 3.1 per cent after the economy only grew by 2.2 per cent by July.