The unemployment rate in Trinidad and Tobago rose to 5.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, up from 4.2 per cent when compared to the last three months (fourth quarter) of 2011.
This is according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in a statement released on Monday.
The report stated that the total number of persons unemployed during January to March 2012 was 33,800, which represents an increase of 30.5 per cent over the previous quarter when the total number of persons unemployed was 25,900.
Even though the total labour force increased by 0.3 per cent over the period under consideration, the increase in the numbers unemployed resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2012 of 5.4 per cent. In comparison, the unemployment rate for the previous quarter was 4.2 per cent.
An analysis of the labour force indicators by industry reveals that the total numbers unemployed in the construction industry increased from 8,200 at the end of December 2011 to 12,200 for the first three months of 2012 with the associated unemployment rate increasing from 8.0 to 11.8 per cent over this same period.
An increase in unemployment was also found in the community, social and personal services industry from 6,700 (3.4 per cent) to 9,400 (4.6 per cent) for the period.
The report stated that the total labour force for January to March 2012 stood at 623,500 persons, up from 621,900 persons for the period October to December 2011. This represented an increase of 0.3 per cent.
The number of females in the work force has moved from 254,600 at the end of 2011 to 260,900 persons by March, 2012, reflecting an increase by 2.5 per cent for that period.
As it relates to males in the total labour force, the number fell by 4,700 persons (1.3 per cent), moving from 367,300 persons as of December 2011 to 362,600 persons up to the end of March 2012.
The report however states that the contribution by males to the Total Labour Force continues to be larger than females with males comprising 58.2 per cent of the Total Labour Force up to March 2012.
This represents a decline from the 59.1 per cent observed in the last three months of 2011, the CSO stated.
Significant positive contributions to the size of the total labour force between the period analysed came from the following industrial groups: Petroleum and Gas (Including Production, Refining and Service Contractors) where the labour force increased by 11.6 per cent from 19,900 persons to 22,200 persons; Community, Social and Personal Services showing an increase in the size of the labour force by 2.8 per cent moving from 199,500 persons to 205,100 persons and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Restaurants and Hotels where the labour force increased by 2.2 per cent from 112,300 persons to 114,800 persons. Together, the number of persons classified in these industrial groups comprised 54.9 per cent of the Total Labour Force for January to March 2012.