Whilst labour analysts are welcoming the latest statistics about the gainfully-occupied, showing an annual increase of 2,100 persons in the number of employees in April 2012, they are wondering what has happened to the 20,000 new jobs claimed by Prime Minister Gonzi to have been created in the last four years, seeing that according to the NSO the number of gainfully-occupied has only increased by 6,698 since April 2008.
Over the past year, the labour supply has grown by 1.5 percent to 157,490 persons, 63 percent of whom managed to find a job, raising the number of gainfully-occupied to 150,717. The rest joined the ranks of the unemployed, which in April 2012 were 6,773, for an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.
The NSO statistics are based on data provided by the Employment and Training Corporation and therefore they must be viewed with some reservations. Eurostat data is based on the Labour Force Survey, which the NSO also conducts in Malta and can then be used for comparative purposes with trends in the EU27.
The woes of the construction industry were evident again from the drop of 2.2 percent in full-time employment in the sector. Manufacturing also shed 0.7 percent. The growth in jobs occurred in administrative and support services (+7.4 percent), transport and communications (+4.9 percent), health (+4.5 percent), education (+1.7 percent), real estate (+4.2 percent), and the arts and entertainment sector (+14.3 percent). Other sectors had pretty stable employment.
The private sector was the motor of employment generation, adding 2.4 percent to the gainfully-occupied, whereas the public sector shed 500 jobs and now accounts for just over 27 percent of all employment. Almost two-thirds of all employees were men, but it was the women who contributed to the major change in employment levels as they took 90 percent of the additional jobs.
The increase in the gainfully-occupied was due exclusively to the growth in part-time employment, which increased by 3,280 to 53,791 persons. And what’s more, 69 percent of the rise in part-time jobs was amongst employees whose part-time job was their primary source of income. Again, it was the women who took the bulk of the additional part-time jobs.
Labour market analysts say that the economy seems to be good at producing part-time jobs and attracting more women to participate in the labour market through such jobs, but is rather sparing in creating full-time jobs or is even destroying them. This definitely gives the lie to the Prime Minister’s claims.