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News 27 Aug 14

Outlook For Bosnian Job-seekers Remains Grim

Tens of thousands Bosnians lost their jobs since this year began, and the latest employment figures show that the labour market remains stagnant.

Eleanor Rose

Almost 35,000 people in Bosnia lost their jobs in the first half of this year, new figures published by the Agency for Labour and Employment show.

Statistics published in late August reveal that 34,605 became unemployed from January to June, approximately 5 per cent of the total workforce.

In the same period, the Agency reported that 47,443 jobs were filled. However, experts caution that many of the new jobs created were seasonal or related to short-term contracts on flood-related projects.

The number of registered unemployed increased slightly from May to June, from 544,594 to 545,362, slightly down on the January total of 557,314.

Compared to January 2013, January 2014 saw a 0.5 per cent increase in the number on the unemployment register in Bosnia.

Jasmin Mujanovic, a PhD candidate in political science, said the figures were cold comfort for the unemployed and for those stuck in precarious or seasonal work.

“Depending on how you want to crunch [the numbers], the unemployment figure for the last 20 years has been either somewhere in the forties or the high twenties, depending on whether you include the [informal] 'grey' economy.”

Mujanovic said he expected the situation to worsen, both in the short and long-term. He pointed to the fact that summer jobs will end soon and flood relief projects will be completed.

“Bosnia's public budget is funded by IMF loans. That bill is going to come due at one point or another. When it does, there’s no telling what will happen,” he said.

The Agency for Labour and Employment put the figure of registered unemployed at the end of June at 43.5 per cent.

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