Economic growth and labor market in Curaҫao, 2013-2015
The association between economic growth and labor market represents a key to development. In Curaçao, this is of
particular relevance in the economic context that the island has been experiencing in recent years. Economic growth
is not a means to an end: it is expected to serve people, stimulate (human) development and reduce poverty.
Economic growth can transform societies, can create jobs, and can improve education and health (DFID, n.d. &
Easterly, 1999). There is usually less (infectious) diseases in wealthier countries (DFID, n.d. & UNDP, 2015).
Hanushek and Wößmann (2010) found that the quality of education has powerful economic effects. Strong
economic growth and employment opportunities can improve incentives for parents to invest in their children
(DFID, n.d.). In other words, economic growth – in combination with e.g. factors of the labor market – can generate
circles of prosperity and opportunity.
An important indicator of the economy is real GDP growth and for the labor market, important indicators are
employment-to-population ratios (also called employment rates) and unemployment rates. The unemployment rate
is widely used as an overall indicator of the current performance of a country’s economy (Hussmanns, 2007). In
Curaçao, the unemployment rate decreased in 2014 in comparison to 2013 and continued to decrease in 2015
(Jansen, CBS 2016). In particular, it is remarkable that in the past two years the unemployment rate dropped, in
view of the estimated negative economic growth in 2013 and 2014 (-0.8% and -1.1%, respectively) and the
estimated slight growth in 2015 (0.3%; CBS, 2016a). In addition, it is worth mentioning that there has been an
increase of 4.3 percentage points in the employed population in 2015 in comparison to 2014, while the economy has
been experiencing stagnation. In this article, the authors will explore several indicators of economic growth and
labor market in Curaçao for the years 2013–2015, in order to illustrate the interrelations between these two entities.
First of all the theoretical framework, methodology and definitions will be described. Secondly, an overview of the
historical developments in the labor market and economy will be given, followed by a presentation of the essentials
of economy and labor market for 2013–2015. Finally, a discussion and conclusion about the topic will be presented.