More than 11 percent of Guyanese workers in the labour force, or 1 in 9, was without work at the end of 2016, according to data from the World Bank. This places Guyana the 7th among CARICOM member states with the largest share of workers without jobs. Since 2012, Guyana’s unemployment rate has remained above 11 percent. The unemployment rate measures the share of workers between the ages of 15 and 65 who are available for and seeking work but cannot find a job.
Guyana’s unemployment rate of 11.4 percent is below the average of almost 13 percent for all member states for which data is available.
The unemployment rate of 11.4 percent corresponds to an estimated 31,122 workers of 273,000 that make up Guyana’s labour force. Of the total labour force, 65 percent are males and 35 percent are females.
An unemployment rate of 11.4 percent represents a sizable portion of the labour force without the opportunity to pursue their own economic prosperity and contribute to the creation of wealth in the economy. Lawmakers concerned about improving the economic and social well-being of families and economic growth should adopt policies that would stimulate the economy, encourage private investments and create job good paying jobs.
St. Lucia has the highest unemployment rate at almost 20 percent or 1 in 5 workers in the labour force without a job. In contrast, Trinidad & Tobago has the lowest unemployment rate of less than 4 percent or 1 in 25 workers in the labour force without a job.
One shortcoming of using the unemployment rate to gauge the health of the labour force is that the unemployment rate does not include those workers who are considered underemployed. Underemployed workers are high-skilled workers who are trapped in low-skilled and low-paying jobs and part-time workers who would rather have full-time jobs. Thus, the underemployment rate is higher than the employment rate. Accordingly, the underemployment rate is more appropriate for measuring the health of the labour force. Data on the number of underemployed workers for Guyana is not available.
Another shortcoming of the unemployment rate is it is sensitive to changes in the number of people who become discouraged and quit looking for a job and persons joining the workforce for the first time. For example, as workers become discouraged and quit looking for work, the unemployment rate tends to fall although no new jobs have been created.
 The list of CARICOM countries does not include St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominican, Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda. Unemployment data for these countries is unavailable.
 Supra note 2.
 World Bank Data
 Supra note 2.