Analysis 06 Sep 16

Sharp Drop in Jobless Rate Masks Serbian Reality

While official figures show unemployment in Serbia to be at its lowest point since 2009, the ‘in-work’ figure includes many working part-time or only informally.

Milos Damnjanovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Statistics on employment count every person who worked for at least one hour during a surveyed week as being “in work”. Photo: TaxCredits.net/Flickr

Nikola lives in a village near the town of Smederevska Palanka, around 60km from Belgrade. Aged 23, he has been unemployed for most of the time since he finished secondary school, aside from short periods of informal work on a building site and a chicken farm.

He currently helps his parents on their small family farm, as well as occasionally helping other relatives on their land.

However, according to both Serbian and EU statistical methodology, people like him are considered to be employed.

This is because statistics on employment count every person who worked for at least one hour during a surveyed week as being “in work”.

The methodology explains part of the marked jump in employment that Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian Prime Minister, presented on August 22, when he boasted that unemployment in Serbia now was at its lowest level since 2007.

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