Figures released in French Polynesia show more that 6,000 jobs have been lost over four years to the end of 2011, cutting the territory's tax take and stifling businesses.
The publisher of the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says the economic situation has been deteriorating over the past decade and the statistics reveal only part of the problem.
He says language barriers prevent many people from emigrating to find work and youth are particularly hard hit.
"The economy has to create two to three thousand jobs a year just to absorb the young people. So if you add those to the losses we're about fifteen thousand jobs short. And according to President Temaru at least 25 per cent of the young people who are of working age are jobless."
Alex Du Prel says the government will soon be offering monetary enticements to 400 public servants to take up early retirement.