Manufacturing employees in St. Kitts.

At his monthly press conference on Wednesday (, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reported that figures from Social Security indicate and average of 25,877 jobs per month for the period from January to August, higher than the comparative period last year were an indication the twin-island federation “continues to move in the right direction.”

According to Social Security, the top five economic sectors generating employment were 10,061 of jobs were found in the public sector; 3,140 jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector; 2,884 in wholesale and retail trade; 1,547 jobs in transport, storage and communication; and 1,481 jobs in manufacturing. Social Security reported there were just under 1,500 active employers in St. Kitts and Nevis, the prime minister said.

Of the average 25,877 jobs, 13,955 or 54% of the jobs were held by females and the remaining 11,922 or 46% of the jobs were held by males for the January to August 2019 period. An average of the gross monthly wages paid was $82 million per month up from $81 million in 2018.

The prime minister also noted data from the Ministry of Finance indicating 601 approvals granted for business licence applications through end of Oct. 2019 — the largest approval in history according, he said. Approvals covered several fields, including real estate, carpentry, farming, landscaping, restaurants, car rentals and trucking.

“More people working, more opportunities for our young people — this is the goal of the Team Unity Government and our competent and capable leadership has resulted in more business investment, more tourists, safer streets and communities,” Prime Minister Harris said.

Growth in Manufacturing Sectors Leads to Additional Jobs

The prime minister also expressed satisfaction with the health of the manufacturing sector in St. Kitts and Nevis, reporting merchandise export from St. Kitts and Nevis by sea increased by 179 percent from 23,883 tons for the period from Jan. to Nov. 2018 to 66,628 tons for the same period in 2019.

Outbound cargo by air increased from 260 tons Jan.-Nov. 2018 period to 267 tons for the comparative period in 2019.

“This speaks to a recovery in manufacturing volume notwithstanding the competitive challenges which the plants here face from China and elsewhere,” Prime Minister Harris said, indicating the increase in production in the manufacturing sector is now being reflected in the creation of additional jobs for the people.

“Kajola Kristada boasts 222 jobs in 2019, almost doubling its employment base of 117 jobs in 2018. Kajola started a second shift this year and added 2 new production lines. Jaro Electronics provides 319 jobs in 2019 against 270 in 2018,” he said. “Importantly, the majority of the workers made redundant by Lutron Liamuiga were absorbed at Jaro. To date, Jaro has provided jobs to such 40 workers from Lutron. I am told that Jaro has paid this year a 10 percent merit increase and Jaro anticipates that by next year it will need other employees.”

The prime minister highlighted API Harowe Servo in Sandy Point maintained its 2018 employment figure of 225 employees throughout 2019, while Carib Brewery (St. Kitts and Nevis) Ltd, increased its number of employees this year, moving from 130 jobs provided in 2018 to 140 in 2019.

“Last year, for the period January to November, the Brewery produced 944,342 cases of beverages. This year to date, it has already exceeded one million cases. Last year it achieved that feat later in December, so it is moving ahead,” he said. “In fact, according to Mark Wilkin [Managing Director of Carib Brewery (St. Kitts-Nevis) Ltd], 1,039,286 cases have already been produced [this year]. For the second time in a row in its 59th year of operation in St Kitts and Nevis and only under Team Unity the Carib Brewery (St Kitts) Ltd will surpass 1 million cases of drinks produced in a single year.”