While, in other economies, offical statistics make for tough reading, Malta’s remarkable economic performance continues to generate positive headlines. Malta’s economic indicators exhibit continued strength, with a burgeoning tourism sector, decreasing unemployment figures, and lower inflation.
In the month of October 2023, both the number of people registering as jobseekers and the cost of living rate decreased.
The Retail Price Index – an economic indicator that measures the inflation in Malta – for October was 3.7% more than it was a year earlier. This was well below the rate of 4.1% recorded a month earlier and the 7.5% of September 2022. The rate of inflation has now been falling for more than a year. It is worth recalling that, in the last Nationalist legislature (2008-2013) the rate of inflation reached a maximum of 4.3% in 2008, which is a higher rate than the present one.
At the same time, the number of jobseekers has once again fallen below a thousand. This is one of the lowest number of people registering since these data started being collected in the 1960s. The number of those on the register, 959, is almost eight times lower than that observed in March 2013, the month when the general election that saw a change in government was held. However, even if one compares that figure to the first month of Robert Abela as Prime Minister, that is January 2020, there has been a massive 43% reduction. This means that, every two days of Abela’s premiership, there was a person who did not need to register for work any more. In Gozo, the number of those registering has fallen to just 61. This is 12 times lower than in March 2013, and shows how much the strength of economic growth in Gozo is greater than that on the island of Malta.
A key reason for this is the strong recovery in the Gozitan tourism industry. In the third quarter of the current year, almost 20,000 foreign tourists stayed at hotels in Gozo. This means an increase of almost half when compared to 2022; a rate of increase that is three times that observed in Malta. In addition, half of the increase in tourists staying in Gozitan hotels was in five-star hotels. This is double the proportion of the increase observed in Malta.
Furthermore, more than 19,000 Maltese stayed at Gozitan hotels between July and September this year. This is an 18% growth over the same months of 2022. In contrast, the Maltese who stayed in Maltese hotels decreased by 9%, probably in view of the record foreign travel registered in the third quarter of the year.
Despite global economic uncertainties, Malta’s economy continues maintaining a positive trajectory. The outlook is bright, and it is projected that the economy will continue growing steadily in the coming years.