Compared to 2021, the number of small business owners in Serbia increased in 2022, but the number of their employees fell by 8,320.
Last year, 317,148 small business owners were registered in Serbia, who, according to the latest data from the State Statistics Office, employed 272,067 workers. However, in the year before that, the statistics recorded fewer registered small business owners – 303,300 of them – who employed 280,387 workers.
Milena Amon, representative of the Protector of Entrepreneurs and Business People of Serbia Association, believes that the confusion in the statistics can be caused by the use of the new methodology, according to which even those people who worked only an hour a month can be officially counted as employees.
“The official data is not a realistic indicator of the level of employment. However, there is another problem. The Business Registers Agency never releases data on how many small business owners are in the dormant phase. When they are in that status, they do not work, but only pay their taxes to the Tax Administration. That’s why a more detailed analysis should be done in order to get more concrete data when it comes to small business owners and their workers, how many of them are active and how many people they actually employ,” says Amon.
As the main reason for the decreasing employment of small business owners, she cites economic activity that is slowing down due to inflation and excessively high tax levies.
“Earlier, a lot of freelancers were registered as small business owners. Now, quite a few of them work as natural persons as it is not worthwhile for them to be registered as small business owners due to high taxes,” Amon adds.
The obstacles that small business owners in Serbia face are numerous, especially those in the catering and construction sectors.
“Many hospitality workers left to work abroad for higher wages, so that industry is facing a labour shortage,” Amona concludes.
This post is also available in: Italiano