An “employment miracle”: 93,000 more jobs since March 2013

Statistics released by the National Statistics Office indicate that between March 2013 and December 2020, that is, in less than 8 years, there was an increase of 93,000 jobs. This means that on average every month there was an increase of 1,150 jobs or 38 per day. Moreover, this increase in employment occurred even in 2020, as despite the pandemic there was an increase of 9,060 full-time jobs and 589 part-time jobs.

Analysts who spoke to described this as unprecedented, with some going as far as calling it an employment miracle. As seen in the table above, the principal beneficiaries of this “employment miracle” were women. In fact, there was an increase of nearly 36,500 women working full-time since 2013, and nearly 6,800 working part-time. Under previous administrations, in the same length of time there was a rise of 12,700 full-time jobs and 3,700 part-time posts for women. This transformation reflected the very strong measures implemented such as free childcare, the tapering of social benefits and the introduction of in-work benefits.

Since March 2013, there has been an increase of almost 67,500 full-time jobs across the private sector. In the same amount of time under previous administrations, there was an increase of less than 17,600 full-time private jobs. This means that despite the pandemic, the increase in private sector employment was almost four times higher than under previous administrations.

There was an increase of nearly 36,500 women working full-time since 2013.

Part-time employment also flourished, with a rise of 16,000 jobs as against less than 6,300 under previous administrations, but the comparative difference is just three times more. While under a Labour Government just one in six new jobs was part-time, under PN Governments one in three new jobs was part-time. This suggests that the quality of jobs improved overall, especially for women. 

In the seven years preceding March 2013, the number of Gozitans working full-time rose from just over 8,500 to less than 9,300, or some 800 persons. In contrast, in less than 7 years of Labour Government there has already been an increase of 4,685. This means that in Gozo the acceleration in employment creation rate was much higher than in Malta, and was six times more than in previous administrations. This is one and a half times more than the differential for Malta, explaining why after years of stagnation, the Gozitan economy has managed to grow at a higher rate than Malta’s, even though the Maltese economy has been growing at a record rate.

Among the sectoral success stories it is hard to miss that of manufacturing, where since 2013 there has been an increase of almost 2,200 full-time jobs and 700 part-time jobs. In the same period under a Nationalist administration, there was a reduction of almost 4,000 full-time jobs and 900 part-time jobs. This is the clearest evidence that progressive governments have sought to rebuild the country’s manufacturing base and gave it a new lease of life.

At the end of the last conservative legislature, the public sector employed 27% of full-time employees in the country. While the Opposition says that now there has been an increase in dependence on Government employment, statistics indicate that the proportion has fallen to 22%. This is despite that progressive administrations have increased the number of full-timers working in the health and education sector by almost 4,000, or a third more than they had increased under a conservative administration in the same period. For every three new nurses and teachers the Conservatives employed, Labour has employed four. 

The biggest growth in full-time employment since 2013 has been in the administrative services sector. Here there was an increase of 12,250 full-time private jobs and almost 600 part-time jobs. After this sector, the biggest growth was in professional services, with an increase of 8,700 full-time jobs and 2,900 part-time jobs. In remote gaming there was an increase of almost 6,900 full-time jobs and 1,800 part-time jobs. Thus, almost one in two new private sector jobs that have been created in recent years have been in these three areas.

Traditional sectors such as construction, hotels and restaurants, retail, and transport, while increasing significantly more than they had before 2013 still did not keep pace with the new service sectors. For example, the information and communications sector grew by 56% compared to March 2013. The financial services sector grew by 67% during the same time. 

This indicates how there has not just been an acceleration in the rate of job creation, but also a diversification towards new sectors with better added value. It was this process of structural change that has helped the Maltese economy to cope with the severe shock of the pandemic that has hit traditional sectors such as tourism and retail.

At the same time, this employment miracle has led to a silent social revolution, with many women gaining economic independence, and created much greater opportunities for those thousands that up to 2013 thought they were destined to remain dependent on social benefits.

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