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Mauritius Economic and Social Indicators: Labour force, unemployment, productivity and tourism


Mauritius Economic and Social Indicators: Labour force, unemployment, productivity and tourism

Mauritius Economic and Social Indicators: Labour force, unemployment, productivity and tourism
Photo credit: Hansueli Krapf | Wikimedia Commons

Labour force, Employment and Unemployment – Year 2017

The ninth issue of the Economic and Social Indicators of Statistics Mauritius, based on the results of the Continuous Multi-Purpose Household Survey, indicates that the unemployment rate has decreased from 7.3% to 7.1% in 2017.

With regards to the change from 2016 to 2017, the Mauritian labour force has increased by 5,900 from 581,000 to 586,900 while the employment rate went up by 6,500 from 538,600 to 545,100. Accordingly, unemployment decreased by 600 from 42,400 to 41,800 and the overall activity rate remained unchanged at 59.6%.

Furthermore, youth employment decreased by 1,800 from 60,100 to 58,300 and unemployment increased by 400 from 18,900 to 19,300. Youth unemployment rate therefore, increased by 1.0 percentage point from 23.9% to 24.9%.

As for male labour force, it increased by 3,000 from 353,600 to 356,600 and the number of those outside the labour force increased by 700 from 122,600 to 123,300. Male employment increased by 2,700 from 336,700 to 339,400 and unemployment by 300 from 16,900 to 17,200. Male activity rate and unemployment rate remain unchanged at 74.3% and 4.8% respectively.

Moreover, female labour force increased by 2,900 from 227,400 to 230,300 and the number of those outside the labour force increased by 1,900 from 271,900 to 273,800. Female employment increased by 3,800 from 201,900 to 205,700 while unemployment decreased by 900 from 25,500 to 24,600. Hence, female activity rate increased from 45.5% to 45.7% while unemployment rate decreased from 11.2% to 10.7%.

In 2017, men comprised 61% of the labour force and most of the workers, that is, 79% were employees. Among the unemployed, women outnumbered men, 24,600 compared to 17,200 though they were generally more qualified. Unemployment rate was highest in the lowest age groups and decreased progressively with increasing age. The unemployment rate for youth aged between 16 to 24 years stood at 24.9%, with 19.5% for male and 31.9% for female.

Regarding the evolution from 2007 to 2017, it has been observed that men are more economically active than women but the gap is decreasing over time. Female employment is increasing faster than male employment. In addition, the tertiary sector is becoming increasingly important in terms of employment. From a high rate of 8.5% recorded in 2007, the unemployment rate was at its lowest in 2017. Accordingly, from a rate of 24.7% in 2007, youth unemployment rose to 24.9% in 2017.

Productivity and Competitiveness Indicators (2007-2017)

This issue of the Economic and Social Indicators presents Productivity and Competitiveness Indicators for the years 2007 to 2017 for the total economy, the manufacturing sector and Export Oriented Enterprises (EOE).

Output (Gross Value Added)

Output, as measured by the Gross Value Added (GVA), is the total value of goods and services (exclusive of taxes) produced within a country. From 2007 to 2017, GVA at basic prices, in real terms, grew on average by 3.8% per annum. The growth rate for 2017 was 3.5%, lower than the growth of 3.6% registered in 2016. GDP per capita at market prices is an indicator of the standard of living of the population. With an annual growth of 0.2% in the population and 3.9% in GDP at market prices, GDP per capita grew by 3.7% per annum during the period 2007 to 2017.

Productivity trends

Labour productivity

Labour productivity for the whole economy is a measure of real output (GVA) per worker. The index of labour productivity improved from 100.0 in 2007 to 127.5 in 2017, giving an average annual growth of 2.5%. In 2017, labour productivity grew at a lower rate of 2.4% compared to 3.4% in 2016. This was the result of a lower GVA growth of 3.5% compared to 3.6% in 2016 while labour input grew by a higher rate of 1.1% in 2017 compared to 0.1% in 2016.

Capital productivity

Capital productivity is a measure of real GVA per unit of capital. During the period 2007 to 2017, the index of capital productivity declined from 100.0 in 2007 to 99.2 in 2017. The average annual rate of change worked out to -0.1%. Capital productivity registered an increase of 0.9% in 2017 compared to 1.1% in 2016 (Table 1.2). The 0.9% increase in 2017 is explained by a lower growth in capital input (2.6%) compared to that of GVA (3.5%).

Multifactor productivity (MFP)

The MFP index shows the rate of change in “productive efficiency”. In addition to labour and capital inputs, it takes into account qualitative factors such as better management and improved quality of inputs through training and technology. The average annual change in MFP during the period 2007 to 2017 worked out to 0.9%. MFP growth in 2017 (1.4%) was lower than in 2016 (1.9%)

Growth accounting

The contribution of different factors to economic growth is determined by the growth accounting technique. From 2007 to 2017, the contribution of labour to the 3.8% average annual growth in GVA worked out to 13% and that of capital to 61%. The remaining 26% represents qualitative factors such as training, management and technology.

To compare changes in competitiveness across economies, the impact of exchange rate fluctuations has to be taken into account. When a national currency appreciates against the US Dollar, more dollars are paid in exchange for each national currency unit. On the other hand, when a national currency depreciates against the US Dollar, fewer dollars are paid in exchange for each national currency unit. From 2007 to 2017, ULC in Mauritian Rupees grew at an average annual rate of 2.8%. In Dollar terms, it increased by 1.8% as a result of an average annual depreciation of 1.0% of the Mauritian Rupee vis-à-vis the US Dollar. In 2017, ULC in Dollar terms increased by 4.9% compared to 0.2% in 2016.

International Travel and Tourism – 1st Quarter 2018

This issue of the Economic and Social Indicators presents data on International Travel and Tourism for the first quarter of 2018.

International travel

In the first quarter 2018, 18 cruise ships arrived in the country and carried some 24,058 cruise travellers which include 11,313 tourists, 4,980 excursionists, 117 Mauritian residents and 7,648 crew members.


Compared to 1st Quarter 2017:

  • total arrivals increased by 5.4% from 450,799 to 475,175, of which arrivals in Rodrigues direct from Reunion Island amounted to 119;

  • tourist arrivals increased by 4.9% from 339,682 to 356,415; and

  • the number of excursionists (arriving and leaving on the same day) increased by 30.2% from 10,171 to 13,246.


Compared to 1st Quarter 2017:

  • total departures increased by 3.9% from 485,010 to 503,879, of which departures from Rodrigues direct to Reunion Island amounted to 176; and

  • departures of Mauritian residents increased by 3.3% from 66,373 to 68,576.

In the 1st Quarter of 2018, the main countries of disembarkation (country of final destination or transit country) for Mauritian residents were United Arab Emirates (15,401 or 22.5%), Reunion Island (8,947 or 13.0%), India (8,062 or 11.8%), South Africa, Rep. of (7,271 or 10.6%), France (5,555 or 8.1%) and United Kingdom (4,344 or 6.3%).


Tourist arrivals

Compared to 1 st Quarter 2017, tourist arrivals increased by 16,733 or 4.9% to reach 356,415 in 1 st Quarter 2018.

In the first quarter of 2018, France, our top tourist generating country, registered an increase of 3.3% while Reunion Island decreased by 5.0%. It is worth noting that compared to 1 st Quarter 2017, tourist arrivals from Netherlands increased by 55.2% as a result of direct flights. Among the emerging markets, India, Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China posted decreases of 0.2%, 3.0% and 17.3% respectively.

Tourist arrivals by air – Main port of last embarkation

During the 1st Quarter 2018, a high proportion of tourists arrived mainly by direct flights from their own country of residence except for Russian Federation, where there were no direct flights. Tourists from Russian Federation travelled mainly through United Arab Emirates which is the most used transiting port.

For the 1st Quarter 2018, the proportion of tourists who travelled to Mauritius through United Arab Emirates from Russian Federation was 54.4%. It is also worth noting that during the period under review, 24.6% of tourists from Italy travelled on direct flights. The remaining used mainly United Arab Emirates as transiting port.

Tourist arrivals: Selected tourist destinations

During the 1st Quarter 2018 while tourist arrivals in Mauritius increased by 4.9%, higher growths were observed for Maldives (+17.0%), Sri Lanka (+17.0%) and Seychelles (+6.1%).


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