A number of figures announced in recent days show that the Cypriot economy stood upright during the pandemic, with the recovery accelerating after the lifting of restrictions and the satisfactory development of the vaccination program that allowed mobility to increase. As a result, the state support plans achieved their goal and the safepass eventually became a passport to speeding up the recovery.
Unemployment fell to 5.2% in July (from 7.9% in July 2020, with the number of unemployed falling to 23,000 from 35,000 a 34.3% decrease, the largest drop at European level) and the number of registered unemployed fell to its lowest level in 12 years (at the end of August 2021, it reached 16,281 people, the lowest number since June 2009 when it was 16,740).
The news from tourism is also positive. In August the passenger traffic reached 867,104 passengers, a percentage of around 60% of 2019, while in June and July 440,944 and 772,136 passengers were handled respectively.
This positive news raises the level of responsibility of all actors in the economy, from government and the political system to businesses and unions, so that the recovery continues and is not overturned. This requires correcting weaknesses by advancing the necessary reforms, accelerating government development work and adapting businesses and workers to the new environment. There should be no taboo issues and everything should be discussed, from telework to wage increases.
We must also not forget that we are far from the end of the pandemic. Virus variants are the biggest threat and no one can know the choices of nature.
A course of responsibility is necessary so that those who are left behind can be supported. Despite the progress and the improvement of the conditions, there are still thousands of unemployed and one in five has difficulty earning a month. Rising inflation and especially energy and food prices will make it more difficult for our economically weaker and more vulnerable fellow citizens. The continuation of state support and assistance should be more targeted and concern not only those who do not work due to the pandemic, but also those who are paid with low incomes.
The work that has been done is important and allows us to shift the interest of politicians from job protection to ensuring decent wages.