According to official data, Serbia has an unemployment rate of 9.9%, and the survey conducted by the State Statistics Bureau estimates it at around 321,000 people.
However, the director of the National Employment Service, Zoran Martinovic, says that a total of 600,000 unemployed people will receive 60 euro from the government (as pandemic aid), writes Danas daily.
Martinovic also underlines that everybody who has registered with the National Employment Service as unemployed by 15 April this year will receive the aid in June. Some 540,000 people are actively looking for work (registered), plus there are other categories of unemployed people which, according to Martinovic, adds to 600,000.
He also noted that there was a wave of redundancies in January and February after the expiry of the state aid measures, which prohibited layoffs.
The labour force survey compiled by the State Statistics Office caused a lot of controversy from the start, mainly because of the definition that all “persons who performed at least one hour of paid work in the observed week, as well as persons who are employed but were absent from work that week (with guaranteed return)” are defined as employed.
This is in line with the international methodology, but it ignores the fact that a large number of people in Serbia work undocumented or are helping at family farms, and all these people, according to the applied methodology, have suddenly become ’employed’. Thus, according to the labour force survey, there were 486,000 informally employed people in the fourth quarter of 2020.
At the same time, the National Employment Service stands behind its statistics, which were the main source of unemployment data. For instance, the State Statistics Office said that there were 321,000 unemployed people at the end of December last year, while the Employment Service’s claims the number was 491,347.
According to these numbers, about 170,000 people more are registered as unemployed with the Employment Service probably for the sake of health insurance, while at the same time, some of them were working occasionally and illegally.
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