24 Jul 09

Serbia: Unemployment Major Problem

Up to 31,000 Serbian workers have lost their jobs since October 2008 due to the economic crisis, the National Employment Service reports.

The sectors worst affected by lay-offs are: commerce; the processing industry; real estate; vehicle manufacture; health; and education.  

Cigarette manufacturer DIV, majority-owned by British American Tobacco, BAT, laid-off 166 of its 319 employees last week, while US Steel Serbia is preparing to cut as many as 210 administrative jobs in September.

Serbia’s employment bureau reports that there are currently 763,062 registered jobseekers, with Belgrade, Nis, Kragujevac, Leskovac and Novi Pazar, the hardest hit.

The head of the employment service, Vladimir Ilic, claims that the rate of redundancies has fallen, with the number of registered unemployed fdropping by around 4,500 from May to June.

“The most important thing is that we haven’t experienced mass firings," Serbian daily Vecernje Novosti quoted Ilic as saying.

He added that the Serbian government has taken measures to lessen the  effects of the crisis, hiring over 20,000 young people last month. The government has also prepared funding for 3,000 new work positions - 756 of which have become available so far - he said.

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