Unemployment increased by almost 20% during March 2020

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Last month the number of persons registering for work stood at 2,125, increasing by 19.9% when compared to the corresponding month in 2019.

According to data provided by Jobsplus for March 2020 and published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) indicate a year-on-year increase of 309 persons registering under Part I and an additional 44 persons registering under Part II of the unemployment register.

According to the data registered unemployment levels increased across all age groups.

Those who had been registering for work for less than 21 weeks, increased by 80.3% when compared to the same month last year. On the other hand, those registering for work for more than 21 weeks, decreased over March 2019 levels.

Data shows that the largest drop was recorded among persons who had been unemployed for more than one year.

The number of persons with a disability who were registering for work increased by 20 when compared to the previous year, reaching 239. Males accounted for 71.1% of total registrants with a disability.

The data published by NSO show that the largest share of males and females on the unemployment register sought occupations as clerical support workers, with 20% and 39% respectively.

Unprecedented rate of unemployment – Opposition

Partit Nazzjonalista said that while the government was downplaying the crisis sparked by the coronavirus, the rate of unemployment stood at 28%.

In a statement, the Opposition slammed the government saying that it was discriminating when implementing measures related to wage supplements with certain businesses and not others and this was leading to mass redundancies.

Partit Nazzjonalista said that the official figures released by the NSO gave a different picture to the one painted by the government. It added that when one compares the figures of those who started registering for unemployment benefits in the last month, one would realise that the unemployment rate stood at 28%. Partit Nazzjonalista said that this showed that the economy was not resilient.

The Opposition urged the government to extend the wage supplement to cover other businesses which have experienced a decrease in their cash flow by 50% or even higher.

The Opposition is focused on scoring political points – Government

The Government accused the Opposition of trying to score political points from the current situation fully knowing that layoffs were predicted.

In a statement the government said that the financial packages announced so far have been aimed at assisting businesses, employees and self-employed. The government underlined that the measures were implemented to safeguard as many jobs as possible and assist those who have been laid off. These financial packages were done in consultation with all stakeholders, the government remarked.

The government compared the number of unemployed to that in March 2013 when Partit Laburista was elected to power, a few years following a global financial crisis. At the time the number of unemployed stood at 7,350, the government said remarking that it was three times as much.