With the downsizing of the sugar industry leaving over 7000 workers without jobs, Guyana’s employment rate could see a dramatic increase. This is according to outspoken political commentator and economist Ramon Gaskin who on Wednesday said Government has no comprehensive policy for job creation. His comments are being made as the Guyana National Bureau of Statics (GNBS) gears up to release its unemployment numbers for 2018, which will serve as a marker to the economic status of the country. The quarterly Labour Force SurveyOutspoken political commentator, Ramon Gaskinfor July to September 2017 had revealed that the unemployment rate for persons aged 15 and above was 12 per cent, with the situation for women being substantially worse than that for men.At that time, thousands of now dismissed East Demerara, Rose Hall and Skeldon sugar workers were employed up to December 31, 2017 and taking into consideration of their contention relating to inconsistent employment, Gaskin’s estimation of an increased unemployment is likely to reflect the reality.However, as the official numbers are being finalised, Gaskin from his assessment of the economy, intimated that youth unemployment is also significant with reference to the magnitude of persons present at the recent job fair at the soon to be opened MovieTowne Guyana establishment earlier this week.“The unemployment rate is quite high, there are no jobs in this place; people are coming out of school and are looking for work; nobody opening any jobs, besides MovieTowne; there are no other jobs available…the Police, Army, public service are employing people but in the Private Sector there are no jobs,” Gaskin suggested.No concrete policyIn this light, he was questioned on the need for a shift in Government policy should the employment drop. Gaskin thereafter indicated his dissatisfaction with the presentation of Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s 2019 Budget wherein he contended that there was no concrete policy for job creation.“The Government has no policy for job creation; the Finance Minister Budget had no provision for job creation – he talked about entrepreneurship, training people in the interior and small business enterprise programme but there are no jobs available for employees. He cannot tell you where jobs are being created,” Gaskin pondered. Moreover, he indicated that the public service payroll has increased, saying that large contingents of persons are seeking employment with the State.” It’s packed up with people; all of them going there to see if they could get lil work.”Gaskin also related that Chinese-contracted building projects such as the one near the Chinese embassy have a majority of foreign workers in addition to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion Project. He called for more locals to garner employment on such projects. After seven years, the CJIA expansion remains incomplete due to several delays.The 2017 survey was done from a total population of 550,831 – persons 15 years and above, with some 72.2 per cent living in urban areas. From this figure, only 271,068 comprised the total employed population during the time of the quarterly survey, with males having accounted for 166,873 and females 104,195. The survey’s findings had revealed 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 had seen 28 per cent of them being unemployed.The employment rate for persons 15 and above was 49.2 per cent, with 62.1 per cent being males and 36.9 per cent being females. It had been also noted that the percentage of employed people in time-related underemployment was 4.2 per cent, with 72.2 per cent of the underemployed being 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.Prior to the 2017 estate closures, the Wales Sugar Estate was shuttered in December 2016 and many workers in that community say they have faced a decline in finance. Given the decrease of jobs in rural areas over the two-year period, it remains to be seen what the numbers in the 2018 survey will reflect.