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The population of Malta increased in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to figures released by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

An exodus of foreign workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic appears not to have put a dent in Malta’s population, with the number of people on the island actually increasing by 0.3 per cent. Gozo’s population increased by 0.4 per cent.

One possible explanation for the apparent discrepancy, suggested by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana earlier this year, is that many of the workers who left the country may not have been registered to work in the first place, indicating the scale of Malta’s shadow economy.

“This became apparent when we started paying the COVID wage supplement and employers who had foreigners on their books who did not have a work permit had to let them go because they could not apply for the assistance,” Caruana told MaltaToday back in September.

According to the NSO report, the majority of industries in Malta registered increases in employment in 2020 compared to 2019. The largest percentage increases resulted in the economic activities related to construction, and financial and insurance activities, registering growths of 6.3 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively.

Similarly, almost all industries in the Gozo and Comino region registered increases in employment during 2020. Here, the largest increases were registered in professional, scientific and technical activities, administrative and support service activities, and information and communication.

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