A total of 39 foreign-owned companies opened 11,935 new jobs in Costa Rica this year, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) reported this week.
At the same time, 5,479 jobs were lost as companies shut down or relocated their operations, leaving a positive net employment outcome of 6,456 positions.
CINDE general manager Jorge Sequeira said the figure surpassed the government’s goal for this year: 6,000 new jobs at foreign-owned companies. Sequeira noted that all employment data was provided by the Social Security System and therefore reports are an accurate and detailed assessment of the country’s employment figures.
CINDE’s year-end report highlighted the importance of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the creation of new jobs, Sequeira said. “New posts created by foreign companies accounted for 17 percent of the total in the country and 22 percent of jobs created in the private sector,” he said.
Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Mora highlighted the results achieved by the country this year “despite a very strong competition worldwide to attract foreign investment.”
Life Sciences companies led job creation
Foreign companies in the life sciences sector, mostly medical device manufacturing, contributed the most to job creation this year and also helped cushion job losses at firms in the light and advanced manufacturing sectors.
Companies in the life sciences sector added more than 2,000 new positions this year, while the light manufacturing and advanced, high-tech manufacturing sectors each lost around 500 net jobs.
CINDE officials said FDI projects launched this year confirm a trend in the arrival of companies developing services and production processes with high added value. These companies usually launch operations with reduced staff — from 20 to 100 employees in their first year — but with expansion plans to grow to up to 500 usually within a three-year period, the agency said.
A recent employment outlook survey from consultant company Manpower found that 22 percent of employers plan to hire new staff during the first quarter of 2016.
The full report on Costa Rica’s foreign direct investment will be released next year.