The economy of Cyprus recorded a positive growth rate of 6.0 % (seasonally adjusted data) in the first half of 2022. Specifically, based on the latest estimates of the Statistical Service, in the first quarter of 2022, on an annual basis, seasonally adjusted GDP grew, at fixed prices, by 6.3 %, while in the second quarter of 2022, it grew by 6.2 %. For 2022 as a whole, the growth rate is expected to be around 5.7 % in real terms, compared to 2.7 % in the previous forecast as included in the 2022-2025 Stability Programme (April 2022).
The unemployment rate (15+), based on data from the Labour Force Survey, stood at 6.7 % in the 1st half of 2022, compared with 8.5 % in the 1st half of 2021. The share of the long-term unemployed in the labour force in the second quarter of 2021 decreased to 2.5 %, down from 3.0 % in the corresponding quarter of 2020, while unemployment among young people increased to approximately 17.6 % in the second quarter of 2022, compared to 17.0 % in the corresponding quarter of 2021. For the whole of 2022, the estimate is that unemployment will range around 7.0 %, compared to 7.5 % in 2021.
In the medium term, growth in the period 2023-2025 will be supported mainly by the domestic market and, more specifically, by private consumption and fixed capital investment. The Recovery and Resilience Plan, which includes significant capital investments, is also expected to contribute positively to growth, especially during the years 2024-2025. Furthermore, net exports are expected to contribute positively to growth in the period 2023-2025.
In particular, economic growth in 2023 is expected to be around 3.0 % and in the years 2024-2025 to average around 3.2 % in real terms. In the labour market, the unemployment rate in 2023 is expected to decrease to 6.4 % of the labour force, followed by a further improvement in the labour market, to be limited to 5.7 % in 2024 and then to 5.0 % in 2025. Inflation in 2023 is projected to decline to around 3.0 % and during the years 2024-2025 it is expected to be close to 2.0 %.
In the first half of 2021, the economy of Cyprus showed a positive growth rate of 4.8 %. In 2021 overall, the growth rate was 5.5 % in real terms compared to the corresponding recession of 2020.
According to Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, the unemployment rate in the 3rd quarter of 2021 stood at 6.5 % (7.6 % in 2021).
The share of the long-term unemployed in the labour force in the second quarter of 2021 increased to 3.0 %, from 1.8 % in the corresponding quarter of 2020, while unemployment among young people stood at approximately 15.0 % in the second quarter of 2021, compared to 17.8 % in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
Thus far (March 2022), it can be said that the general rate of unemployment in Cyprus has remained low, at 6.5 %.
The mobility of employees in Cyprus in general (whether incoming or outgoing) has suffered a serious blow. In 2021 most of the economic sectors in Cyprus which usually recruit staff from the EU on a seasonal basis have been severely affected by the pandemic (tourism, catering, leisure and construction). In 2022 a ministerial decision to increase the number of employees from third countries (from 30 % of the number of staff to 50 %), as well as the decision to allow asylum seekers and refugees to work in several jobs in the tourism industry (instead of only in cleaning, as in the past), negatively affected the demand for European workers.
According to the data held at the District Labour Offices, there were 11 284 registered unemployed persons in late April 2023. Based on seasonally adjusted data showing the unemployment trend, the number of registered unemployed persons in April 2023 decreased to 13 203 compared to 13 427 in the previous month.
Compared to April 2022, there was a decrease of 380 persons or 3.3 %, mainly attributed to the sectors of accommodation and food services (decrease of 292), trade (decrease of 190), construction (decrease of 102), administrative and support activities (decrease of 88), public administration (decrease of 47), as well as a decrease of 181 persons among new entrants to the labour market.
The number of job vacancies in the 4th quarter of 2022 amounted to 7 821. The number of job vacancies decreased by 1 822 (-18.9 %) compared to the same quarter of the previous year, when it was 9 643. Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2022, there was a decrease of 1 353 jobs (-14.7 %)
Among young people aged 15-24, the unemployment rate in 2022 was 19.2 % of the labour force of these ages (men 21.3 %, women 17.2 %) compared to 17.4 % (men 16.8 %, women 18.1 %) in the same quarter last year.
Regarding the duration of unemployment, 54.0 % of all unemployed persons were looking for work for less than 6 months, 13.6 % for 6-11 months, while 32.4 % were long-term unemployed. The corresponding percentages for the 4th quarter of 2021 were 47.7 %, 16.2 % and 36.1 %.
Greek Cypriots made up the majority of the unemployed population (73 %). The remaining 17 % consists mainly of European citizens living and looking for work in Cyprus.
In April 2022, there were 7 424 job vacancies posted on the PES network, almost 1 500 fewer than last year.
The best employment prospects forecast for 2023 in lower education level occupations are in the following categories:
- Warehouse workers/transport workers/production assistants
- Skilled construction workers
- Kitchen assistants, employees in hotel and restaurant services of all specialties
- Infant nurses/care workers in institutions/assistants in surgeries
- Hospital and other medical staff
- Secretarial staff
- Domestic workers
The best employment prospects forecast for 2023 in higher education level occupations are in the following categories:
- Technical services consultants, programmers
- Computer specialists
- Nurses, doctors and specialist medical staff
- Telecommunications/mobile phone technicians
- Electrical engineers
- Engineers of various specialisations
- Economists / business managers / marketing executives
- Executives of shipping companies
- Financial professions/accountants
- Employees at medical centres, clinical laboratories and other medical and paramedical centres
Those most willing to move to find work in Europe are young higher education graduates. In most cases these people do not have much work experience in their field of study. The most widespread foreign spoken language is English.
Those most willing to move are young men between 21 and 35 years of age. According to the Public Employment Service website, in April, 937 unemployed persons have declared their desire to find work in Cyprus and in Europe. This percentage accounts for just 5 % of the total number of registered unemployed persons, which reflects the fact that Cypriots are reluctant to relocate to a different country in order to find work, but also that it is relatively easy to find work in Cyprus.