BARBADOS continues to see gains in employment as the economic recovery is maintained. 
While growth was 1.3 per cent during the first half of 2016, the Central Bank of Barbados has indicated that unemployment has fallen from 12.4 per cent at the end of March 2015 to 10.7 per cent at the end of March this year.
The rise in employment coincided also with a pick-up in construction, which registered a two per cent increase between January and June 2016.
However, yesterday during the Bank’s review of the economy for the six months to June this year, a decline in foreign reserves and a widening fiscal deficit was noted as well. Growth for 2016 is projected to be 1.5 per cent.
The Governor attributed the slowdown since March to the unexpected delays in major tourism investment projects, and a fall-off in visitor arrivals.
“These factors together with debt service requirements resulted in the stock of the international reserves falling $43 million to $884 million, equivalent to 13.6 weeks of imports,” the Governor said in his review of the economy.
 “This compares with the $84 million decline for the same period last year,” Dr. Worrell said.
In a sectoral analysis, the Governor revealed that US and the regional tourism market registered increases of 13 per cent and 14 per cent. However, increases in arrivals from Canada and the UK were modest, he said, while noting that private financial inflows were $87 million more than for the first half of 2015.
This, he explained, was due to inflows for hotel development projects, real estate purchases by non-residents and a large foreign purchase of a local firm.
External amortisation and equity payments resulted in a net public outflow of $82 million compared $189 million outflows last year.
“Construction activity was up two per cent based on such indicators as the importation of construction materials, employment in the sector and construction projects underway,” according to the Governor.
Dr. Worrell added that there was a three per cent decline in the number of international businesses and financial services licences granted this year. (JB)

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