Number of employed in the Caribbean Netherlands continued to rise in 2022

Man stuccoes wall of house, with the sea and a palm tree in the background.
In 2022, the employed labour force aged 15 to 74 years in the Caribbean Netherlands increased by 9 percent to 15.7 thousand relative to 2020. During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the number of employed stagnated. Of the three islands, Bonaire saw the highest growth. There were more employed people both among the local island population and among immigrants. This is evident from the most recent Labour Force Survey Caribbean Netherlands, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Employed labour force in the Caribbean Netherlands, 15 to 74 yrs
JaartalBonaire (x 1,000)St Eustatius (x 1,000)Saba (x 1,000)

On Bonaire, the employed labour force grew by 1.4 thousand (+12 percent) to 12.8 thousand in 2022 relative to two years previously. Of all 15 to 74-year-old residents, 72.5 percent were in employment. In 2020, the net labour participation rate was still 69.8 percent.

On St Eustatius, the employed labour force rose by 5 percent to 1.8 thousand. The proportion of people in work amounted to 72.9 percent.

Only Saba saw a decline in the number of employed; around one thousand people were in employment on this island in 2022, 120 fewer than two years previously. On Saba, 67.0 percent of the population aged 15 to 74 years were in work.

More immigrants and more locals in employment

The number of local people in employment rose by 410 to 8.2 thousand and is back at the level of 2018. Local people in employment are employed people who were born on one of the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles, i.e. the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands or Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten.

In 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly the number of local people in work declined, by 320 to 7.8 thousand. The number of employed people born elsewhere did grow in 2020 and then continued to increase by 940 to 7.5 thousand.

Employed labour force in the Caribbean Netherlands by place of birth, 15 to 74 yrs
JaartalBorn on Bonaire, St Eustatius or Saba (x 1,000)Born on Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten (x 1,000)Born elsewhere (x 1,000)

Relatively sharp increase in employed Dominicans and Colombians on Bonaire

In 2022, almost a third of those working on Bonaire were native-born Bonaireans. In absolute terms, this group saw the largest growth (+500). The number of employed from other countries increased as well, leaving the percentage of Bonaireans in work unchanged. Bonaireans mainly work in public administration, education and construction. In second place were employed people from Curaçao, with a percentage of 17 percent born here.

Among immigrants, in particular the increase in Dominican and Colombian nationals working on Bonaire is relatively large. Compared to 2020, the number of employed from these countries rose by more than 40 percent each last year. They were mainly working in construction and in accommodation and food services.

Employed labour force on Bonaire, top 5 places of birth
Geboorteland2022 (%)2020 (%)
Curaçao 1719

Also more employed people from the Dominican Republic on St Eustatius

Over 40 percent of the people in work on St Eustatius were native-born Statians last year. Especially in education, the number of native Statian residents in employment has increased over the past two years, doubling relative to 2020.

In second place is the employed labour force born in the Dominican Republic (12 percent). Relative to 2020, the number of employed in this group grew by 36 percent. They mainly worked in accommodation and food services.

Employed labour force on St Eustatius, top 5 places of birth
Geboorteland2022 (%)2020 (%)
St Eustatius4039
St Maarten87
Curaçao 76
St Kitts
and Nevis

Fewer non-locals in work on Saba

Around 31 percent of the employed labour force on Saba were native-born Sabans in 2022. They formed the largest group of all employed people on Saba, mainly working in public administration. Employed people who were born on St Maarten rank second (10 percent). The lower number of employed on Saba is particularly seen among non-native island residents.

Employed labour force on Saba, top 5 places of birth
Geboorteland2022 (%)2020 (%)
St Maarten107