In T&T: SoE slowed economy

8 December 2011


More post-SOE thoughts, this time from the CBTT governor…says “unions tend to lose their clout with higher unemployment.”

The impact of the State of Emergency and curfew was more pronounced on the local economy than originally envisaged, Central Bank governor Ewart Williams said yesterday.

Speaking at the presentation of the November 2011 Monetary Policy Report at the Central Bank tower, Port of Spain, Williams said the result of the state of Emergency and the curfew was that fewer hours were worked, and productivity and production in the manufacturing, small business and distribution sectors were particularly affected. “On this basis, the projection for the year as a whole, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will have declined by about 1.4 per cent,” he said.

Real GDP for the first half of 2011 declined by 0.9 per cent. On the heels of trade unions calling for a protest march in Port of Spain tomorrow, Williams said that with the country’s current unemployment rate, he did not foresee prolonged industrial unrest next year.

“People will be focusing on job security than wages…Unions tend to lose their clout with higher unemployment,” he said. He said that while the latest unemployment statistics from the Central Statistical Office had unemployment at 6.3 per cent, the Bank used data from the Labour Ministry from the third quarter 2011 which showed retrenchment notices were double compared to the corresponding period last year.

“We suspect that with the State of Emergency, retrenchment continued in the last quarter of 2011,” he added.

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