*File photo
*File photo

The recently reported 1% drop in the unemployment rate is good news for Bermuda.

It indicates the economy is turning the corner toward growth in jobs and incomes.

I am encouraged by the 2013 Labour Force Survey’s findings provided by the Department of Statistics, but remain deeply concerned by the fact that so many Bermudians remain unemployed. We have much work to do.

This Government was elected to stop the Island’s economic slide and get Bermudians back to work. We spent our first year in office rebuilding the economic foundation and working to restore confidence in Bermuda as a place to do business. That work will continue through 2014.

Turning around an economy that was in freefall is not simply a matter of pulling a lever here and pressing a button there. It involves a huge, coordinated effort within the government and beyond. We have worked with unions, industry and outside agencies to swing the economic pendulum back in our favour and will continue to do so.

It’s still early days, but we are seeing growth in new company incorporations, growth in consumption that indicates businesses are starting to do better, growth in government revenues and, most importantly, growth in jobs and incomes, as reported in the Labour Survey.

But we take nothing for granted. Recovery for a small undiversified economy like Bermuda’s is always going to be vulnerable to set-backs. We have to be sensible, patient and smart going forward, ready to adjust and work together for results that work  for all of us.

I want to assure the people of Bermuda that we will continue to do our best to get the economy working again. I am confident we are on the right track and I look forward to 2014 being a year in which many, many more Bermudians find their place in an economy that is finally working for them.

That is my Number One priority as Premier.