Minister of Economy: “Economic management is yielding results”
April 17, 2023 –WILLEMSTAD – In a press release, the Minister of Economic Development Ruishandro Cijntje states that the economy is moving in the right direction. The minister declares that almost 10,000 new jobs were generated between 2020-2022, leading to a decrease in unemployment. According to preliminary figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported in absolute numbers, the total number of employed persons rose from 57,050 in 2020 to 66,722 in 2022, meaning that 9,657 people found jobs. Despite the population decreasing due to emigration, there were still more people employed between 2020 and 2022. Youth unemployment also decreased during this period, according to the CBS report.
The expansion of Curaçao’s economy in the last two years contributed to job growth. Both the Ministry of Economic Development (MEO) and the Central Bank expect growth that can be mainly linked to developments in stay-over tourism. Additionally, sectors such as real estate, transportation, warehousing and communication, as well as wholesale and retail sales, also made positive contributions to the economic expansion.
However, there was a contraction in the manufacturing sector due to the decrease in ship repair activities and refinery activities that have not restarted. Thus, the metallurgical sector linked to the refinery and Damen, which employ people with higher salaries than in tourism, did not see growth during this period.”
“Growth in the tourism sector
Growth in the tourism sector has contributed to an increase in job opportunities. Sandals and other hotels that opened and hospitality companies together created new job opportunities. The real recovery of Curaçao’s economy in 2022 is an indication that what MEO is doing in cooperation with the tourism office is meeting the goal of economic recovery.
However, unemployment is still high. The figures from CBS are preliminary and clarification will be given in May. A country with an unemployment rate of more than 10% still has a lot of work to do, as this is still relatively high. “We need to continue working and stimulating activities to reach below 10% in the next year. Already in 2019, we had a negative migration balance. According to CBS, in 2022, we have an indication of negative migration balance again, meaning more people are leaving than those who are settling down. We need to create more jobs and opportunities for people to stay in Curaçao and for those who have left to return,” said the minister in the press release.
In 2023, both the Central Bank and MEO announced that the economy will continue to grow, which will lead to the creation of more job opportunities. “I will continue to make every effort to contribute to our economic growth. Specific activities to contribute to economic growth in 2023 and beyond include discussions that are taking place to open new air routes to attract airlines from different destinations, attracting cruise lines that will visit Curaçao in 2023 and 2024, and thus creating more economic activity. Hotels that will open in 2023, 2024, and 2025, such as Corendon phase 2, Marriott Courtyard, Sandals expansion, and several large projects that are in progress, will also contribute to economic growth,” said the minister.
The training program continues to ensure a flow of workers for the tourism and hospitality sectors. Work is underway to establish a guarantee fund to facilitate stalled projects, stimulate our internal economy, and facilitate small businesses and those in the informal sector to become formal. Diversification through the national export strategy, stimulation of local agricultural production, reducing the cost of doing business, and eliminating bureaucracy, or “Red Tape,” will lead to a stronger, more resilient economy with sustainable growth.