By Rina Mihajlovic,
Novi Sad, July 31, ( Serbia Today) - Unemployment in Serbia has become a major problem. Up to 31,000 Serbian workers lost their jobs since October 2008 because of the economic crisis according to the National Employment Service reports.
The business sectors most affected by layoffs are commerce, the processing industry, real estate, vehicle manufacture, health and education.
Even some foreign companies had to lay off workers such as cigarette manufactures DIV majority owned by British American Tobacco, BAT. They had to lay off 166 employees out of 319 while US Steel Serbia is going to cut 210 administrative jobs in September.
Reports tell us that there are 763,062 registered unemployed people looking for a job in Belgrade, Nis, Kragujevac, Leskovac and Novi Pazar. The highest unemployment rate is in Belgrade.
The head of the Employment service Agency said that at least there were no mass firings and that the government has taken measures to decrease the effects of the crisis by hiring 20,000 young people last month. The government is also planning to fund 3,000 new work positions and 756 are available so far.
The problem is that the numbers are high and we already have almost a million unemployed people. The country’s average salary is 250 EUR per month and life expenses are far much higher. A large number of employees are working “off books” and therefore cannot get health and social insurance either. Most people cannot even afford to get a mortgage to buy a car or an apartment. Salary is often barely enough to pay the bills and buy food. Of course, not everyone is poor and there are rich people and even growing middle class of young and ambitious professionals.
So, right now we have 15,6 % unemployment rate, 5000 unemployed people more than in April. Unfortunately, this fact is not only due to the economic crisis. The crisis is in the market, the number of unemployed is increasing but that increase is not dramatic according to Vladimir Ilic, director of National employment service. He added that it is hard to calculate how many people lost their jobs due to the economic crisis.
The exact amount is hard to get because people who are not constantly looking for a job are being deleted from the unemployment list later on.