More people in jobs in Caribbean Netherlands

The Daily Herald writes that according to the latest figures from the Caribbean Netherlands Labour Force Survey, released Wednesday by Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), the labour force in the Caribbean Netherlands differs from the European Netherlands in a number of ways.

Relatively more people in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba between the ages of 15 and 74 are employed and relatively more of them work full-time. The labour force in Bonaire numbered nearly 14,500 in 2014, 3,300 in Statia and 1,500 in Saba. In Bonaire and Statia 68.9 and 67.8 per cent of 15 to 74-year-olds have a job, in Saba this is 59.3 per cent.

Saba is among the Dutch municipalities with the lowest labour participation rates. Island participation rates are higher for men than for women. In Bonaire and Statia over 70 per cent of men work, compared with around 65 per cent of women. In Saba there is no difference between the sexes; approximately 60 per cent of both men and women are employed. Nearly 80 per cent of the labour force in Saba work full-time, in Bonaire and Statia this is nearly 90 per cent. This is very different from the Netherlands, where only half the employed population has a full-time job. In the Caribbean Netherlands most people work full-time. Government, construction and care sectors are the main employers in all three islands. In Bonaire, the hotel and restaurant sector is also a main job provider. NuStar Statia Terminal has a significant impact on Statia’s labour market. In Saba, a large number of people work in education, with Saba University School of Medicine being the largest employer in this sector.

Two out of three inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands were not born in any of the three islands. Around 20 per cent of people living in Bonaire were born in the Dutch Caribbean and nearly 10 per cent were born in the Netherlands. Forty to 50 percent of the populations of Statia and Saba were born elsewhere, mainly in United States, Canada or the Dominican Republic. Most foreigners work in specific sectors of the labour market. Dutch people in Statia mainly work in education and government. This is also true for Dutch people in Bonaire, although many of them also work in hotels and restaurants. In Saba, too, many hotels and restaurants employ Dutch people, although many others work in education and for government. A large number of them have secondary and higher levels of education.

Workers born in the islands themselves often have lower levels of education. In Bonaire, 6.4 per cent of the labour force was unemployed in 2014. This is equivalent to around 700 unemployed persons. Statia’s unemployment rate was at 8.8 per cent. Unemployment is especially high among young people on this island. Saba had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 per cent. Relatively many people on the islands do not have a job and are not looking for one. This group is especially large in Saba; 35 out of every 100 Sabans are not available for a job. This is one of the effects of the relatively large group of medical students living on the island. In general, more people in the islands than in the Netherlands do not have a job because they are in education (see related story). Additionally, fewer retired people do not have a job.

The share of people who do not work because they care for their household and family is relatively small. Just as in the European Netherlands, most of these are women. Relatively few people in the Caribbean Netherlands are unwilling or unable to work because of illness or disability.

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