03 September 2003

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Labour supply rises, unemployment falls

- April unemployment stands at 5.2 per cent

According to figures released by the National Statistics Office yesterday, in April the administrative records of the Employment and Training Corporation showed an increase of 609 persons in the labour supply in comparison to the same month last year. The full-time gainfully occupied population increased by of 766 persons over the same month last year. Accordingly, the full-time gainfully occupied population amounted to 137,701 in April 2003
The self-employed persons increased by 78 persons in April 2003 when compared to the same month last year.
The private production sector decreased its labour force by 236 persons in the month under review when compared to April 2002. Upon comparing the data of April 2003 and April 2002, a decline in manufacturing is evident. Accordingly, the turnover in employment levels in the manufacturing industry points to a drop of 283 jobs in April 2003 when compared to the same month last year. The vicissitudes of the manufacturing industry varies across the different sectors of production. Actually, while a heavy decline is being recorded in the clothing and footwear sector, a significant growth is taking place in the electrical machinery and printing and allied industries.
In April 2003, the private market services sector increased its labour force by 1,644 persons. This large increase is due to the privatisation of a major state-owned company whose employees were transferred from the public to the private sector. While the banking, transport and hotels sectors recorded a slight decline, the wholesale and retail trade sector underwent a significant growth in employment in the twelve months to April 2003.
The public sector continued to reduce its labour force in the twelve months to April 2003. Accordingly, there were 572 less persons on the public sector payroll in April 2003 when compared to the same month last year. Most of the drop occurred in the economic activities where the state is relinquishing its former ownership in favour of privatisation. On the other hand, a significant growth is being recorded in the Independent Statutory Bodies which include the corporations, authorities and foundations.
Registered unemployment rate
In April 2003, the registered unemployed amounted to 7,480. Actually, there was a decrease of 157 persons on the unemployment register in the twelve months prior to April 2003. The unemployment rate in April 2003 stood at 5.2 per cent.

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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