Malta was one of only ten EU states to register an increase in employment in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the previous quarter. Eurostat data shows that Malta registered a growth of 1.3 percent, second only to Lithuania at 1.6 percent and ahead of Croatia with 1.0 percent.
Overall, the EU registered a decrease of 0.1 percent, the first decline since 2013. The biggest dips were observed in Spain (-1.0%) and Bulgaria (-0.9%) while Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden saw their employment fall by 0.5 percent.
Compared with the same period last year, however, EU employment increased by 0.4 percent with a total 209.1 million people in employment across the bloc.
Meanwhile, GDP in the EU fell by 3.2 percent from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020, registering the sharpest decrease since 1995. Compared with the first quarter in 2019, GDP also decline by 2.6 percent. Decreases in the euro area were more pronounced, slipping by 3.6 percent from the previous quarter and by 3.1 from a year before.
Four EU countries still registered an increase from the fourth quarter of 2019: Ireland (+1.2%), Bulgaria and Romania (+0.3%), and Sweden (+0.1%). France and Italy suffered the biggest decreases (both -5.3%) followed by Spain and Slovakia (both -5.2%).
GDP in Malta fell by 2.3 percent compared with the previous quarter but grew by 0.7 percent from the same period in 2019.