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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, February 1) – The Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics latest data on employment and unemployment survey of 2004-'05 reveals that out of the country's total labour force of 351,433, some 20,507 (or 5.8 per cent) people were unemployed.

The unemployment rate for females (8.7 per cent) was almost twice as much as for males (4.5 per cent.)

The bureau's figures show that out of the total labour force, 238,880 were males of whom 10,699 were unemployed and 112,553 were females of which 9,808 were unemployed.

According to the bureau some 2,96 households were randomly sampled through the four divisions representing a total weighted population of 817,592 persons.

The bureau says that the real unemployment rates are likely to be much higher than these numbers indicated.

"Many of those stating their main activity to be household duties would be in a position to take up formal sector employment if it was available. The female unemployment rate therefore is likely to be much higher."

Major employment status or activity constituted about 146,592 wage earners, 48,884 salary earners and 3263 employers.

A total of 91,887 were self-employed, 38,064 were family workers and 2235 were community workers.

Retired/pensioners constituted 12,936, while 13,109 were inactive and 2094 were not looking for work. Some 3694 people were handicapped.

A total of 122,292 were doing household duties, 79,493 were underage and 232,901 were fulltime students.

The bureau says that among the unemployed are some 5025 persons who were of school age (6-18) but who were not at school and not in income earning positions.

It said that a total of 11,429 people were looking for work and 4054 had stopped looking for work.

According to the bureau there are far more wage earners among Indo Fijians (80,776) than among Fijians (60,156), while there are more salary earners among Fijians (26,863) than among Indo-Fijians (17,891).

The bureau says that there are four times more employers among Indo-Fijians (2235) than among Fijians (696).

The Western Division led the way in having the highest unemployment rate of 7.5 per cent (9218) with the Easter Division having the lowest at 1.3 per cent (or 244).

Unemployment in the Central Division was at 5.2 per cent (or 7966) and in the Northern Division it was 5.3 per (or 3080).

"It is likely though that some proportion of the unemployed in the Central Division may be emigrants from the Eastern Division," the bureau says.

The bureau also pointed out that there are much larger numbers of self-employed persons, family workers and community workers among Fijians than among Indo-Fijians.

On the other hand, far more Indo-Fijians (67,494) categorise themselves as engaged in full time household duties than do Fijians (49,589).

The rates of unemployment are lowest among Rotumans (4.2 per cent) while highest for "others" at 7.2 per cent.

That for Indo-Fijians is marginally higher at 6.2 per cent compared to 5.5 per cent for Fijians, the bureau said.


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