In 2019, the labour force in The Bahamas totalled 215,000 employed.

For 2019, Bahamas has a population of 377,000, most of it urban and with two-thirds living on New Providence Island where Nassau, the capital, is located.

Otherwise considered, if the 215,000 formally and registered employed number is deducted from the 377,000 estimated population, this leaves an estimated 162,000 persons who were not in formal employment. This 162,000 persons include the young, school age and otherwise still in education. This 162,000 persons also includes retirees, the aged, and expat resident portions of the population, as well as, those who are of working age, but not in formal employment for whatever reason.

Unemployment stood at 9.8% and 6.9% in informal employment. Poverty rate 13%. (2019)

“Among poor households, 62.3% of household heads are employed.”

For the year 2019 – Poverty numbers roughly some 49,010 persons if one takes the poverty rate of 13% multiplied by the estimated population of 377,000.

The Bahamas Country Note : Impact of Covid19 and policy options by Manuel Mera UNDP LAC C19 PDA NO. 16 July 2020 –

“The economy, driven by the twin pillars of tourism and financial services, has been generally strong, making Bahamas’ GDP per capita similar to developing countries. However, poverty and unemployment remain high. Around 13% of the population lives in poverty, with 25% of these being children between the ages of 5-14. This means at least 43,000 people are living below the poverty line set at $4,247 per person per year. There are geographical disparities within the country as well as with vulnerable communities living in sparsely populated islands and among the most historic communities in New Providence.”

The Bahamas Country Note : Impact of Covid19 and policy options by Manuel Mera UNDP LAC C19 PDA NO. 16 July 2020 –

“The Bahamas is a high-income service economy, heavily dependent on Tourism and Financial Services. The Bahamas has one of the highest GDP per capita, comparable with those of developed coun- tries like South Korea, Spain, and Portugal. Nevertheless, poverty is around 13% and unemployment was almost 10% before the COVID-19 crises started.”

Inflation increased by 2.2% on average in 2018 and with an annualized 1.8% by September 2019. Most of the inflation is explained by an increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) statutory rate from 7.5 to 12% in 2018, which help increase revenues.

70% of all Bahamas employment is concentrated on the island of New Providence. That is, 70% of 215,000 = 150,000 persons employed in New Providence.

70% of all those employed work directly or indirectly in Tourism. That is, 70% of 215,000 = 150,000 persons are employed directly or indirectly in Tourism.

In 2019, Government and Tourism, were the largest national employers, in The Bahamas. Government and Tourism employed 20% each of the available, formally recorded workforce. That is, 215,000 X 20% = 43,000 people are employed by Government and 43,000 people are employed directly in Tourism.

Further, if 43,000 are employed directly by Tourism and 150,000 are employed directly and indirectly, then, by extension, some 107,000 persons are employed in some business indirectly related but profiting from the Tourism industry.

Hurricane Dorian struck in September 2019.

17th July 2020 – 119 Covid Cases and 11 deaths.

7th September 2021 – 18,853 recorded Covid Cases and 439 deaths –

“The government reacted fast to the pandemic, and the health numbers show only 119 COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths up until July 17th. However, the economic front is worrisome with a projected 12% shrink in the country’s economy. Tourism, the main activity of the islands, has been deeply affected and its future is dependent on the evolution of the global pandemic. The Government has boosted spending to maintain consumption, protect businesses, sustain employment and protect unemployed workers. The policies tend to benefit formal workers, making informal workers less likely to obtain enough protection. Food assistance, among other noncontributory supports, may fall short in the face of rising unemployment and poverty among poor households.”

“In the face of a long-term recession, the Government needs to reevaluate the social spending strategy, shifting help from food assistance to a wider unemployment coverage that can reach those households most in need. The country should invest in improving social statistics and registration plus avoid the risk of duplicating efforts to deliver help to the population. In the long term, efforts should be made to diversify the economy and reduce the high dependency on tourism.” – The Bahamas Country Note : Impact of Covid19 and policy options by Manuel Mera UNDP LAC C19 PDA NO. 16 –

Tourism and Related Hotels and Restaurants only contributed 9.8% to GDP in 2019.

Bahamas agriculture and industry represents less than 10% of GDP; tourism related areas such as hotels and restaurants represent 9.8% of GDP; Real Estate activities 16.4%.

The Bahamas Country Note : Impact of Covid19 and policy options by Manuel Mera UNDP LAC C19 PDA NO. 16 –

Contribution of Tourism on Bahamian GDP varies from 30% estimated by World Tourism Organisation to 50% estimated by Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

7.2 million visitors came to The Bahamas in 2019

“The Bahamas has a highly concentrated economy, with agriculture and industry representing less than 10%. The GDP reflects the importance of tourism-related areas, such as Hotels and restaurants (9.8%) and Real Estate Activities (16.4%). The estimates of the total incidence of Tourism on the GDP varies from 30% by the World Tourism Organisation to 50% by the Ministry of Tourism. In 2019, the country had a record 7.2 million visitors, leading the growth for the second year. But this lack of diversification makes The Bahamas vulnerable to crises such as the COVID-19.9”

Community, Social and Personal Service Industry, which includes the civil service, police service and domestic service accounts for 35% of the workforce. That is, 215,000 employed x 35% = 75,250 persons.

In the second semester of 2019, the Public Sector increased by 9% which indicates INCREASED government hiring. Hurricane Dorian happened later in the year in September 2019.

Construction and Wholesale represent 8.5% and 14.4% of employment. That is, based on 215,000 employed persons, Construction employs some 18,275 persons and Wholesale employs some 30,960 persons.

Informal Workers defined as those estimated number of workers who are part of any economy who are neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government. Informal Workers in The Bahamas average between 2018 and 2019 at a rate of 6.9% and of this 6.9%, 76% are MALES.

The IDB estimates that the informal economy of The Bahamas (An informal economy is the part of any economy that is neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government) is much larger at around 20-30%.

The Bahamas has a large percentage of foreign population. Net migration (immigrants minus emigrants) is around 5,000 people over the last 5 years.

Migrants in The Bahamas represent 16.2% of the population. That is, of the 389,482 estimated people in The Bahamas (2019) 63,096 persons are of foreign birth.

Bahamas Migrant Population = 16.2%. The average worldwide is 3.5% and in Latin America it is on average 1.8%.

The Bahamas has a negative flow of remittances of around 0.87% of GDP. Negative flow of remittances is considered to be when “remittances generate some negative effects, including the possibility that poorer countries can become over-reliant on remittances and experience moral hazard. Remittances are also costly to make, with migrants paying, on average, 9% of the value of the transfer in costs to the transfer industry.”

Main destination of remittances from Bahamas: Haiti 60%, Jamaica 11% and United States 9%.

Employment and Contribution By Sector To 13.58 Billion GDP in 2019

Mining and Quarrying employed 1% of the employed (2,150 persons) and contributed 0.6% to GDP.

Agriculture employed 1% of the employed (2,150 persons) and contributed 0.9% to GDP.

Administrative and Support Services contributed 2.3% to GDP. (No percentage of employed listed)

Manufacturing employed 2% of the employed (4,300 persons) and contributed 2.8% to GDP.

Professional, Scientific and Technical contributed 3.1% to GDP. (No percentage of employed listed)

Information and Communication contributed 3.9% to GDP. (No percentage of employed listed)

Electricity, Gas and Water contributed 4.1% to GDP.

Transportation and Communication employed 6% (12,900 persons) and contributed 4.3% to GDP

Construction employed 8% (17,200 persons) and contributed 5.4% to GDP.

Financial and Insurance activities employed 3% (6,450 persons) and contributed 9.6% to GDP.

Hotels and Restaurants employed 20% (43,000 persons) and contributed 9.8% to GDP.

Wholesale and Retail employed 14% (30,100 persons) and contributed 13.5% to GDP.

Real Estate employed 3% (6,450 persons) and contributed 16.4% to GDP.

Community, Social and Personal Services employed 39% (83,850 persons) and contributed 18.7% to GDP. Government employee figures, which ordinarily make up the public service (20%) and the 9% increase in early 2019) are hidden among this 39%.

Imports and Exports

Imports are dominated by manufactured goods and machinery (50%), followed by oil (17%) and food and beverage products (16%).

Bahamas goods exports are expanded polystyrene in primary forms (28.9%), exported Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials (19.8%), frozen rock lobster and other sea crawfish (13.8%), and machinery and transport equipment (22.8%).

The Bahamas has a negative trade balance, as imports exceed exports more than six times.