Digest offers snapshot of life in the Isle of Man

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HOUSE prices fell, the population grew to a record high, unemployment rose, the number of work permits issued was the lowest in a decade and the inflation rate spiralled.

These are some of the key economic indicators of 2011 contained in the latest Digest of Economic and Social Statistics that has just been issued by the Treasury’s Economic Affairs Division.

The Digest is the most comprehensive statistical publication available relating to the Isle of Man and covers a diverse range of economic and social information, incorporating the most recent data available at January 1 this year.

Sixteen separate sections contain data on the growth and development of the Manx economy including finance and commerce, transport and communications, population and employment and social statistics relating to life in the Isle of Man including health and education.

It shows that last year the island had a record high resident population of 84,497 of which 40,655 or 48.1 per cent were born here.

The number of unemployed climbed to 979 by the end of the year, the highest level since January 2010.

There was a further drop in the number of work permits issued during the course of the year, from 6,798 in 2010 to 5,921 – less than half of the 13,242 permits issued in 2002.

Average weekly earnings rose by 1.8 per cent to £601.15 in 2011. Average earnings for manual workers were £464.90 a week, up 3.9 per cent, and the figure for non-manual workers was £657.94 a week, up 1.0 per cent.

A total of 9,444 people were employed in the island’s finance sector, 23.2 per cent of the employed population. Some 2,295 were employed in manufacturing, 5.3 per cent of the island’s workforce.

Inflation spiralled, peaking at a rate of 6.8 per cent in August of that year – its highest level in 20 years. It has since fallen back down.

Average house prices fell by 1.6 per cent from £290,641 in 2010 to £286,056.

The digest provides interesting statistics showing the changing fortunes of the postal system. In 2002, a total of 13,081 letters were forward posted and 11,075 posted locally. By 2011, 7,754 letters were forward posted and 8,134 posted locally.

Among other information contained in the digest are stastics on crime figures and road accidents.

There were 754 road accidents during the course of the year, resulting in five fatalities, 58 serious injuries and 183 minor injuries.

Government gross expenditure rose from £844 million in 2010/11 to a probable £881 million in 2011/12 and is estimated to reach £905 million in the current financial year.

Over the same period, government income increased from £854 million in 2010/11 to a probable £898 million in 2011/12 and an estimated £906 million in 2012/13.

Interestingly, given the impact of the VAT bombshell on public finances, the digest shows how Customs and Excise receipts increased each year from 2002/03, peaking in 2006/07 at £438 million when they made up 72 per cent of total government receipts before falling back to £350 million in 2010/11.

Copies of the 2012 Digest of Economic and Social Statistics are available from the Tynwald Library, Legislative Buildings, Douglas, at a price of £3.50.

The publication is also freely available to download at the Economic Affairs Division’s web page at www.gov.im/treasury/economic.

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