Labour Force on the Dutch Caribbean islands
On 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist, and with it the CBS
Netherlands Antilles. Curaçao and St Maarten became independent countries within the
Kingdom of the Netherlands and set up their own statistical offices. Aruba has had one
since obtaining its separate status in 1986. Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba became special
municipalities within the Kingdom and Statistics Netherlands took over the statistical tasks
for these three islands.
Whenever Statistics Netherlands publishes figures on the labour
market situation in the Caribbean Netherlands, it concerns the islands of Bonaire,
St Eustatius and Saba. CBS Aruba, CBS Curaçao and STAT St Maarten publish separate labour
force figures on Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten respectively. A comparative overview of the
Caribbean islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Dutch Caribbean, has been
missing, and this report is aimed at filling the gap.
This report presents the labour market situation for the inhabitants of Aruba, Bonaire,
Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten, in the age group 15 to 74 years. Section 2 deals
with labour participation according to sex, age and level of education on the islands.
Section 3 zooms in on the employed labour force. In which industries are people mainly
working? Do they have a job as an employee or as a self-employed person? And how large
is the share of full-time workers? Section 4 focuses on (youth) unemployment according to
sex, age and level of education. Section 5 deals with the people not in the labour force,
with a special focus on young people who are not in education nor in work: the so-called
NEETs (Neither in Employment, nor in Education or Training).
The article concludes with a summary. In order to supply context for these figures, they are
compared with the average of all OECD countries in many instances (Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development) or, where this is not available, with the relevant figures for the
(European) Netherlands, the United States or the European Union.
The data in this report are based on the Labour Force Surveys (LFS). These surveys vary in
the timing and frequency at which they are conducted on the islands (see Table T.1 in the
Technical Notes). Therefore, it has been decided to present the most recently available
figures for each island in this article. This means that the figures for Aruba, Bonaire, Saba
CBS | Statistische Trends | 2019 4 and St Eustatius relate to 2016 while those for Curacao and St Maarten
concern 2017. With regard to the survey questions, sometimes differences are seen between the surveys.
Where this is the case, it is indicated. More detailed information about the surveys can be found in
the Technical Notes.
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