The region of the Western Balkans opened additional 300,000 new workplaces between 2010 and 2016, which represents an overall increase in employment by around 6 %.
This is a good news, but the rate of increase of employment should be accelerated in order to achieve higher impact on the high unemployment rate and widespread inactivity. This was stated in the new report “Trends in the labor market of the Western Balkans in 2017,” which was published by the World Bank and the Institute for International Economic Studies in Vienna.
The new report shows that unemployment rate in the region was decreased, however, it still remains too big with a total of 21 % of the workforce. The unemployment rate gives an estimate of the number of people who want to work and who are actively looking for a job, while the inactivity compares people who are economically inactive due to different reasons. A total of 40 % of the population in working age is inactive – which represents much higher rate in comparison to EU countries, and the inactivity is especially great among women and less educated citizens.
According to the report, the recent recovery in employment was surprisingly in favor of older workers. This is partly explained by demographics since the number of workers in the age group of 55-64 was significantly increased. The employment of this group was increased by more than 20 % in most of the countries. The recovery in employment is also in favor of the higher educated citizens.
“We can see that better education, more than ever, leads to higher employment. The employment of those with a higher level of education was significantly increased, and this also refers to young people,” according to Robert Stehrer, scientific director of the Institute for International Economic Studies from Vienna.
“It is also encouraging that we can see an increase in employment of women during the recent recovery, although progress in reducing gender differences in employment is really slow”.
Those who did not benefit from the slight recovery in employment include workers with low qualifications and less educated young people. Youth unemployment was decreased from 50 % in 2014 to 48 % in 2015. Initial data for the year of 2016 indicate a further decrease, but the unemployment of young people remains high in comparison to 17.3 % recorded in the European Union.