AS FIJI'S job crisis continues to deepen, 9523 graduates from various tertiary institutions in the country are still unemployed, it has been revealed.
Minister for Labour Jone Usamate said out of those 9523 jobless graduates, 858 were degree holders.
Mr Usamate said the unemployed graduates had been registered by the ministry's National Employment Centre (NEC) from April 2010.
He said the large number of unemployed graduates in the country was a result of not enough jobs but there was still hope ahead.
"For the past few years, our economic growth has been slow and job creation has been slow," Mr Usamate said.
"There are not enough new jobs being created to absorb the new graduates," Mr Usamate told this newspaper.
He said the other possible reason was because of the difference between what was being taught in tertiary institutions and what employers needed.
Mr Usamate said Fiji needed to grow the job market and encourage the development of small micro enterprises (SMEs) to make use of the large number of well-educated unemployed youths the country had.
"This year, we are beginning to see some positive signs in our economy. There have been good reports of demand in the construction sector. Growth in the construction sector is a sign of potential growth," he said.
Mr Usamate outlined that tourism industry that was also doing well and the Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau had reported the number of investors interested to invest in Fiji.
"On top of this, a 2.7 per cent economic growth has been forecast," he said.
Mr Usamate also highlighted that various proactive measures had been developed by the ministry to counter the increase in unemployment rates.
He said the ministry had self-employment service for those who wanted to start their own small business, Fiji Volunteer Service for those who had a strong sense of service and civic pride and willingness to serve others before self. "Foreign Employment Service is another initiative for those who want to work overseas. This service will be launched with the Foreign Employment Unit under the ministry by the end of September," Mr Usamate said.
He said the ministry had been engaging in vetting employment agencies that could take the role of seeking jobs in other countries for unemployed Fijians.
Mr Usamate said the NEC could not create jobs but had been effective in carrying out its mandate.