By Christos Meliopoulos – Nicosia
The significance of the crisis that has engulfed Cyprus has been revealed in two new statistical surveys. In the first one, coming from Eurostat, we learn that one in four residents of Cyprus had been living in conditions of relative poverty in 2011, even before the recent economic developments. The second worrying set of statistical data paints a deteriorating picture of unemployment in the country.
Eurostat says that in 2011 24.6% of Cypriots fulfilled at least one of the three criteria used to determine whether someone lives in poverty: level of income, lack of basic means of living and households in unemployment. As Eurostat explains, these criteria check whether someone’s income is at least equal to 60% of the national median income, whether one can afford to include meat or fish in their diet three times a week, whether they can pay for rent and utilities, whether they enjoy adequate heating, if they have a washing machine, a telephone, a TV set and a car, and whether they could afford to leave home for a week’s holiday. The last of the three criteria checks the hours in employment of the members of a household.
The 24.6% mark of Cyprus was the fifth highest in the eurozone behind Greece (31%), Ireland (29.4%), Italy (28.2%) and Spain (27%).
As for the latest unemployment figures by the national Statistical Service, they put the percentage of the workforce that is out of employment at 16.9%. This rate translates into 52,112 people being registered as out of work on the island. The unemployment rate marks an annual increase of 38.8% and an increase of 1.63% in comparison to August 2013.
Labour minister Zeta Emilianides said that unemployment rates continue to rise, but they do so in a slower pace than before. Nevertheless, the situation in Cyprus among a significant percentage of the population has become hard, and it’s not so difficult to see around you anymore. “It’s not like Greece, but it has definitely got worse. Poverty and unemployment are the twin evils, especially for those that have had their wages and pensions cut,” says Theoharis Papadopoulos, a social worker in Nicosia.