The average net salary in Serbia has increased by about 10 percent in one year, but the share of food and beverages in personal consumption is still around 34 percent, while electricity prices and property taxes are higher.
“A third of the population in Serbia is still socially endangered and, although strong state measures, a significant part of the workers will definitely lose their jobs. These are not only employees in tourism and catering, but also in other sectors of the economy. Serbia, as well as other countries, are paying the price of the pandemic and its consequences, such as relocation of production, more expensive transportation, which will surely be reflected in prices,” says agro-economic analyst Vojislav Stanković.
The Minister of Finance, Siniša Mali, recently wrote on his Instagram profile that the average salary in Serbia in December last year was 5,000 dinars higher than in November.
“The average salary in our country in December 2020 was 562 euro or 66,092 dinars. This means that compared to November 2020 (60,926 dinars), the average net salary increased by more than 5,000 dinars,” said the Minister.
He also compared December 2020 and December 2019, pointing out that the average salary in Serbia increased by 6,370 dinars or 10.6%.
However, Stanković estimates that the growth of utility expenses has certainly eliminated this difference and that more is spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages in Serbia than in the rest of Europe.
“Regardless of these figures, the share of food and beverages in personal consumption in Serbia is still around 34%. Although we spend 10% less on food and drink than our counterparts in Western Europe, we continue to stagnate and still have the highest spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages. Statistics do not record everything, but the cost of living has increased significantly. The price of meat, fruit and other food products went up. Families now spend more on various bills, electricity and property tax,” says Stanković and adds that most of the family budget is still spent on food. He estimates that every day about 2.5 euro is spent on groceries per capita in Serbia.
According to statistical data, the average salary went up by 9.2% in real terms, which is expected because the minimum price of labour and civil servant salaries also increased during that period.
Sasa Djogovic, economist and the author of “Macroeconomic Trends in Serbia,” says that one-time wage increases in the public sector contributed to more pronounced wage growth. This would mean that there has been a forward shift in the purchasing power of the population.
However, the overall statistical picture shows no significant improvement in living standard. He adds that the median net salary in December amounted to 48,676 dinars, meaning that half of the employees earned up to that amount.
According to data from the State Statistical Office, the median net salary in December last year amounted to 66,092 dinars. Last year, the growth of gross wages compared to the same period in 2019 was 9.5% in nominal terms, or 7.8% in real terms, while at the same time, net wages increased by 9.4% in nominal terms and 7.7% in real terms.
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