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Cyprus - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


The data below present the Labour Market in Cyprus PRIOR to the almost total suspension of work in all enterprises in Cyprus (apart from essential services) to fight COVID-19. Cyprus’s economy, like that of all Europe, has suffered a serious blow and, according to the text below, the impact it will have on the real economy cannot be calculated. What is certain however is that the labour market in Cyprus will be adversely affected with the loss of many jobs and an increase in unemployment over the coming months.

The impact of the global economic recession first appeared in the Cypriot labour market in late 2008 and persists to this day. The gradual but continuous decrease in economic activities led to the elimination of many jobs, resulting in a continuous increase in unemployment and, at the same time, a continuous decrease in employment. Since 2015, the economy began recovering, with improvements to key financial indicators. For 2019 up to and including February 2020, according to the data available from the Labour Force Survey, it appears that all indicators have improved and the labour market is steadily recovering. 

Based on the latest preliminary data, which is an estimation, from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in February 2020, unemployment in Cyprus stood at 5.8%, representing a 1.3% decrease compared to the same month last year (7.1%).

According to the latest Labour Force Survey data, in 2019 the unemployment rate stood at 6.3% (28,481 people), representing a 1.3% (4,902 people) decrease compared to 2018, when the unemployment rate stood at 7.6% (33,383 people).

The average unemployment rate in 2018 stood at 8.4%, compared to 11.1% in 2017, 12.9% in 2016, 14.9% in 2015, 16.1% in 2014 and 15.9% in 2013.

The unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 24 years of age stood at 16.0% for the fourth quarter of 2019, representing a 4.6% decrease. The average unemployment rate among young people between 15 and 24 years of age stood at 29.1% in 2016, 32.8% in 2015, 36.0% in 2014 and 38.9% in 2013.

According to the data kept at the District Labour Offices, the number of registered unemployed persons at the end of February 2020 stood at 19,740, down from 25,508 for the same month in 2019 (a decrease of 13.9% or 4,133 persons). It is pointed out that a continuous downward trend in monthly registered unemployment is recorded over a period of more than three years.

For 2019 the employment rate among people between 20 and 64 years of age increased to 76.0% from 74.5% in 2018, exceeding the target set by the EU for 75% employment. 

The highest decrease in terms of numbers was reported in the districts of Nicosia, Limassol (by 1,691 persons and 1,059 persons, respectively), followed by the districts of Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta. 

The largest decrease in terms of numbers for February 2020 by area of economic activity compared to the same month in 2019 was reported in the areas of New unemployed Entrants (by 785 persons), trade (by 607 persons), construction (603 persons), hotels (by 396 persons), manufacturing (by 325 persons) and banks (by 294 persons).

In 2017, Greek Cypriots made up the majority of the unemployed population, with 15,686 persons (61%). Of the total unemployed population, 6,870 persons (27%) were European citizens. 

Of those registered as unemployed, 12,391 persons (48%) have secondary-level general or technical education, followed by those with primary education (27% or 6,812 persons), higher education graduates (24% or 6,258 persons) and finally those without any formal education (1% or 159 persons).

Profile of European New Entrants to the Cypriot Labour Market:

The number of European new entrants who came to Cyprus to work during the first two months of 2020 stood at 318 persons, accounting for 19% of the total number of new entrants to the Cypriot labour market.

Of the total number of European new entrants, 55% came from Greece, 8% from Romania, 11% from Bulgaria and 16% from the United Kingdom.

Out of the total number of European new entrants, most stated that they wish to work as service providers, in tourism, as salespersons or as unskilled workers.

Half of the Europeans registered as unemployed have secondary-level general or technical education (52%), followed by higher education graduates (32%) and those with primary education (16%).


Text last edited on: 05/2020

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