Our economic plan is on track

The number of employees in the private sector has increased but there are certain interesting factors that give a clearer dimension to this figure. 

Between March 2013 and June 2014 an increase of 8,508 gainfully occupied individuals was registered, supplemented by an increase of 5,354 persons who had taken up part-time employment. These figures are factual and borne out by statistics.

The number of employees in the private sector has increased but there are certain interesting factors that give a clearer dimension to this figure. It was during this same period that Transport Malta took over the administration of public transport and it engaged a substantial number of workers to run the transport service.

This was an extraordinary measure and although the number of workers employed for this specific purpose is listed as public service employees, the same individuals will be offered jobs with the private sector once the new service provider starts operating in Malta. In fact, once these workers, around 750 of them, commence work with the new company operating the public transport in Malta, the percentage of public sector employment as a total, will fall to 26.3 per cent. This is actually lower than the comparative percentage for March 2013, which stood at 26.7%.

 Effectively there was an increase in recurrent public sector jobs. This increase of 1,573 persons was made up of 514 in public sector administration, 517 in Health and Social Work, and another 387 individuals in Education. In my ministry alone, we have substantially increased the number of Learning Support Assistants; we have strengthened childcare facilities and we have introduced various other services to help young adults return to the workplace.

 We have invested in manpower to generate more jobs – and it is obvious that this has worked. Employment in the private sector has risen over the first 18 months of this government. Another interesting offshoot is the fact that we have increased the employment ratio of those persons between the ages of 20 and 64 to 65.7%. This figure is only four percentage points lower than the EU 28 average and we are aiming to fall within this threshold in as short a time as possible.

 The labour force of a country includes both the employed and the unemployed. We have also made inroads into the reduction of this figure. Whereas in October of 2013 the number of persons registering for work stood at 7,594, this figure has gone down to 6,596 as at October this year. This means that unemployment went down by 1,000 job seekers over a period of 12 months. The rate of unemployment in Malta stands at 5.8% ¬– which is the fourth lowest in the European Union. In Malta we have also achieved the same ranking when it comes to the unemployment rate among youths, at 12.2%.

 This Government has and will continue to work hard to attract investment, both local and foreign. Unlike the previous government, we believe in manufacturing and we are not ready to bet that ‘all manufacturing industries (in Malta) will close down in 10 years’. Should we see any warning lights we will not cash in on any bet, but we will work hard to reverse the trend. Our economic plan is on track and this should lead to greater employment and lesser unemployment.

 We are well aware that employment is a powerful driving force of the economy of our country. My ministry is working hard on several other projects, including the Alternative Learning Programme. Besides providing education to those normally abandoned as early school leavers, we will train and provide these youngsters with skills that will help them obtain meaningful employment and reduce our unemployment figures even further.