Martinique is both a region and a French Overseas Department (D.O.M.) where powers are exercised by a single community. It is a French Department of America (D.F.A) and an Ultra-Peripheral Region (R.U.P.). Martinique is located in the Caribbean archipelago between Dominica to its north and Saint Lucia to its south. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. Martinique is 6,900 km from Paris, 3,150 km from New York, 2,000 km from Miami, 1,500 km from Guyana and 200 km from Guadeloupe.
General presentation of the economy in Martinique
Agriculture with bananas, rum, even other processed and locally produced food products (jams, sodas, juices, soft drinks in particular) constitutes the main exports of the island. fishing, aquaculture, industry and crafts are activities whose production is sold almost exclusively on the local scene.
In 2019, the exports of non-petroleum products represent 234.4 million with an increase of 11.2% in 2019. The majority are non-durable consumer goods (92.1 million or 39.3%) with nearly 91% agri-food products. Among the latter, drinks are in the majority (73.1%) and of course it is rum which is in pole position for drinks followed sodas, mineral or sparkling waters and other alcohols. Exports of bananas, another flagship product of the island, amounted to 72.7 billion in 2019.
Its main suppliers are the Metropolis (69.9%) for a total of 1.5 billion euros in 2019, the European Union (15% or 328.3% million euros including 85.2 million euros from Germany), Asia (6.0% or 130.8 million), North America (71.9 million including 61.6 from the United States) and 5.9% from the rest of the world (Europe outside the European Union, the Caribbean and South America).
The majority of goods imported from France consist of non-durable consumer goods (39.4% or 603.4 million euros). Of these, more than half (51.3%) are agro-food products and almost a quarter (24.5%) are pharmaceutical products.
The foreign trade balance stood at 2 billion euros in 2019 and the deficit increased by 10 million euros.
The additional supply and transport costs are passed on to all economic players, hence the prices sometimes equivalent to double the prices charged in metropolitan France.
With 358,749 inhabitants in January 2020, the population of Martinique has further decreased (-4,731) in one year (-1.3%). It has been part of a continuous decline since 2007, which is explained by the marked deterioration in net migration since 2005.
The migration balance or balance of entries-exits in the territory has reached historical levels, exceeding the record of the 70s and the era of BUMIDOM (BUreau pour le development des Migrations dans les Départements d'Outre-Mer, program to encourage young people to move in mailand France to fill a lack of labor). Today it is between 4,000 and 5,000 Martiniquans who leave their land of origin each year mainly for hexagonal France.
Many young people leave the island as soon as they have their baccalaureate in hand to continue their studies in France or abroad. Few return after graduation due to poor prospects in the local labor market.
Martinique is characterized by the aging of its population. people over the age of 60 represent almost 30% of the population, of whom 10.2% are over 75 years old. This is explained by the massive departure of young people to other destinations, the lengthening of the lifespan and a decrease in births (1.89 children per woman). According to INSEE, this trend is expected to increase and could reach the stage of 40% of the population in 2040.
Demographic data such as death rate, fertility rate and life expectancy are similar or close to national rates.
In 2018, Martinique's GDP reached 8.9 billion euros, a growth of + 2.4% in value. For its part, the GDP per capita is estimated at 24,411 euros. This increase of 2.4% in volume can be explained as much by a increase in GDP as by a decline in the population. This rate remains below the national figures which stood at 35,151 euros.
On the other hand, if we compare Martinique with its Caribbean neighbors, it is 3rd place after Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Martinique has 4th container port and 11th airport in France (for large carriers) and 13th for passenger traffic.
Employment in the tertiary sector is predominant. Almost 85% of salaried employment is located in the service sector with an important weight for commerce, the administrative sector and the tourism. 42% of local employees work in the public sector (state, municipalities, local authorities, communities of municipalities, state enterprises).
The number of beneficiaries of social minima is down over one year (-9.7%).
The number of job seekers remains quite high (approximately 38,670 job seekers in December 2019), ie 15.1% of the working population but a significant decrease was observed for young people aged 25-49 (-9.2%) and to a lesser extent for seniors (-1.9%).
Employment is weighed down in the island compared to its counterparts in the Caribbean because of the cost of labor. A Martinican employee is expensive because of the many social charges that weigh on employment and businesses.
In 2019, the Martinican economy has shown one of its best faces for years.
The confidence of hitherto gloomy entrepreneurs has clearly improved. The climate indicator has risen above its long-term average, suggesting a clear improvement in the business climate. A majority of entrepreneurs reported increasing activity and were particularly optimistic about their investment forecasts for the next 12 months. Labor market conditions also improved with the creation of over 2,000 net jobs for the second year in a row.
By maintaining a stable labor force, unemployment has thus fallen by two percentage points.
Finally, outstanding loans grew at a rate close to that of last year, supporting household consumption as corporate investment spending.
Regarding tourism, the figures were also encouraging in 2019 after the two record years 2017 and 2018. 963,894 tourists visited the island according to the Comité Martiniquais de Tourisme (Martinican Tourism Bureau), a drop of 7.9% but which explains in large part by the withdrawal of the lines of Norwegian which ensured the connection between North America (United States and Canada), the bankruptcy of XL Airways and of number of cruise passengers (-27.4%). The number of trippers and vacationers was better in 2019 than in 2018.
The agricultural and food sectors had a more difficult year, particularly in terms of supply chains, the rise in the price of raw materials and the increase in the cost of freight, which led companies to significantly revise their prices upwards.
The secondary sector also suffered from the absence of large-scale projects but still increased its workforce during 2019.
This global improvement will inevitably be impacted in 2020 by the health crisis linked to Covid-19. All the economies of the world have been affected and we must be prepared for figures well below those of previous years. In addition, the lockdowns that led to a total shutdown of certain businesses could have dealt a fatal blow to some local businesses.
The figures given in this article are those of the IEDOM (Institut d'Émission des Département d'Outre-Mer) or the INSEE or populationdata.net.