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Diversified economy boosts labour market 10 March 2010

THE Isle of Man’s labour market has fared ‘very well’ by international standards, according to the latest economic report to the Council of Ministers.

The report, which covers the final quarter of 2009 to the end of December, reveals that unemployment in the Island rose by 157 during the year to stand at 878 - 2.1% of the economically active population. However, the end-of-year jobless total fell significantly from its peak in August and the overall rate compared favourably with statistics for the United Kingdom and other European Union countries.

The diversity and resilience of the Isle of Man economy helped to minimise the level of job losses, with downsizing in certain sectors offset by opportunities in new or growing businesses. Approximately 6,700 vacancies were registered with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Job Centre during 2009, reflecting a strong economic performance in the face of global uncertainty.

Employment figures provided a useful indicator of how various business sectors fared during 2009, with the quarterly report pointing to a mixed picture overall. The importance of the Island’s emerging industries is once again underlined, with a range of successful niche sectors helping to widen the choice of careers available locally.

The report states:

‘Analysis shows that the aerospace sector has the potential to double revenues over the next five years, creating 130 new skilled jobs and generating millions of pounds more for the economy and in taxes.’

The Island’s e-gaming sector also enjoyed double-digit growth during 2009, creating an additional 100 jobs to bring the total directly employed in the industry to about 550. Conversely, the construction industry experienced a difficult year and accounted for the largest number of unemployed people (241) registered in December 2009.

The report highlights efforts being made to tackle a number of recruitment challenges, including an initiative aimed at improving the prospects of young people aged 16 to 24 without proven skills and experience. A DTI-funded job skills training scheme helped 100 NEETs – those not in employment, education or training – to find and retain suitable employment during 2009.

DTI Minister David Cretney said:

‘The requirement for a skilled, flexible workforce will remain a key factor towards the continued growth, diversification and, ultimately, the success of our Island. The Government remains committed to addressing these issues in a proactive manner.’

• The full text of the quarterly economic report can be viewed here

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