Caribbean Netherlands: job growth over 50 percent in 10 years

Between 2011 and 2021, the number of employee jobs in the Caribbean Netherlands rose by 53 percent to 13.6 thousand. Job growth was over twice as high on Bonaire compared to St Eustatius and Saba. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of new figures on jobs and wages in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Number of employee jobs
JaarCaribbean Netherlands (x 1,000)Bonaire (x 1,000)St Eustatius (x 1,000)Saba (x 1,000)
*Provisional figures

The number of employee jobs has been increasing every year since 2011. On Bonaire, the number rose by 4,240 relative to 2011. St Eustatius saw an increase of 290 employee jobs and Saba of 180 employee jobs. Population growth and tourism growth are key drivers of the increase in employee jobs between 2011 and 2021. Bonaire has the greatest influence on job and wage growth in the Caribbean Netherlands; 84 percent of employee jobs were on this island in 2021. In Bonaire, employee wages are 6 percent below the Caribbean Netherlands average. On St Eustatius, it is 35 percent higher than the average and on Saba 20 percent.

More jobs in care

Between 2011 and 2021, the Caribbean Netherlands saw an increase in the number of jobs in health care. On Bonaire, the number was 980 higher than in 2011. On St Eustatius and Saba, the number of employee jobs in health care also increased, but in relatively smaller numbers.
On Bonaire (+67 percent) and Saba (+100 percent), the number of employee jobs in the accommodation and food services sector also increased sharply. On St Eustatius, the number of employee jobs in this sector remained virtually unchanged. Also notable is the increase in construction and trade jobs on St Eustatius, from 70 in 2011, to 240 in 2021.

Number of employee jobs on Bonaire
Bedrijfstak2021* (employee jobs)2011 (employee jobs)
Public administration and public services1120
Business services1670680
Healthcare and welfare1530550
Accommodation and food services1440860
Wholesale and retail trade1410870
Culture, recreation, other services760540
Transport, information and communication560460
Real estate renting and business activities36080
Energy, water supply and waste management270100
Financial services250460
SBI code unknown150
Mining and quarrying50
Agriculture, forestry and fishing1020
*Provisional figures

Job growth stalled by coronavirus pandemic

In 2020, the number of employee jobs in the Caribbean Netherlands rose by 1.1 percent year on year, versus 2.8 percent in 2021. This is less than the average annual growth rate of 4.4 percent from 2011 to 2021. The pandemic had a negative impact on the growth in employee jobs. With far fewer tourists visiting the islands in 2020 and 2021, the number of employee jobs decreased among businesses depending on tourism, in sectors such as transport, information and communication, accommodation and food services, and culture and recreation.
On the other hand, the number of employee jobs increased more than average in real estate, health care and business services.

Gross annual wages up 22 percent

The average gross annual wage of workers in the Caribbean Netherlands increased by 22 percent between 2011 and 2021, to 27.3 thousand US dollars. Workers on Bonaire received the highest wages in 2021 in the financial services, energy, water and waste management, and education sectors. Residents with employee jobs in business services, accommodation and food services and agriculture were paid the least. On St Eustatius, workers in the transport, information and communication, and education sectors received the highest wages. Wages were lowest in accommodation and food services and wholesale and retail trade. On Saba, workers in education and in health care and welfare received the most wages. Residents with employee jobs in the accommodation and food services sector received the least pay for their work.

Gross annual wages of employees on Bonaire by sector
Bedrijfstype2021* (x 1,000 USD)2011 (x 1,000 USD)
Mining and quarrying37.37
Public administration and public services24.43
SBI code unknown17.78
Energy, water supply and waste management41.6539.08
Financial services41.6126.3
Healthcare and welfare28.721.82
Transport, information and communication25.3320.19
Culture, recreation, other services22.4417.19
Real estate renting and business activities21.5416.79
Wholesale and retail trade18.917.27
Agriculture, forestry and fishing17.9411.81
Accommodation and food services17.8417.32
Business services 17.117.88
*Provisional figures


A Papiamentu translation of this news release can be obtained from Statistics Netherlands’ office on Bonaire by sending a request via email to: