Labour Force Survey data show that during the period 2004-2011, the activity rate for the population aged 15 to 64 went up from 58.7 per cent to 61.6 per cent. This was mainly attributed to a rise in female participation in the labour market, which increased by 7.6 percentage points. In contrast, the male activity rate saw a net decline of 2.2 percentage points over the same period.
Similar trends may be observed when looking at the employment rate. In this regard, the number of employed persons (as a percentage of the population of working age) increased from 54.5 per cent in 2004 to 57.6 per cent in 2011. Once again, females contributed for most of this increase, especially those within the 25-54 age bracket.
During 2011, the unemployment rates for the 15-24 and 25+ age brackets stood at 13.7 and 5.0 per cent respectively indicating a higher tendency of unemployment among the younger cohort. The unemployment rate among women remained higher than that for males, despite descreasing by nearly 2 percentage points since 2004.
The increase in female participation in the labour market contributed towards decreasing the total inactivity rate among persons aged 25-54 by nearly 9 percentage points since 2004. On the contrary, there was an increase in the inactivity rate among the 15-24 year old population and this may be linked to the the fact that more young persons are pursuing their studies at a further level before starting employment.
Last year, an estimated 13.5 per cent of all persons with a main occupation were self-employed. This indicator remained relatively stable during the years under review. In contrast, the proportion of persons with a part-time main job increased from 8.9 per cent in 2004 to 13.1 per cent in 2011.
The early school leavers’ rate is another indicator derived from the Labour Force Survey.The number of persons aged 18-24 who had a secondary level qualification or less, and who were not in education or training, dropped from 42.3 per cent in 2004 to 33.5 per cent in 2011. The female early school leavers rate dropped most sharply, indicating that more women are choosing to pursue their studies at higher levels than in previous years.
The percentage of persons aged between 30 and 34 with a tertiary educational level, increased from 17.8 per cent in 2004 to 21.2 per cent in 2011.