The official statistical data in Serbia shows that only 13.8% of the work capable population here is unemployed, while the average salary exceeds 400 EUR. However, when you scratch the surface, it turns out that statistics is not such an exact science.
According to the official data, the unemployment in Serbia fell by over 5% last year – from 19% to 13.8%, while in other regional countries and in the EU this change was almost unnoticeable – it was expressed in decimals.
Experts say that such a decline in unemployment is a phenomenon that is usually seen in the countries with a very high economic growth (between 6% and 7%), and not in countries where the economic activity has been stagnating. A professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Economics, Milojko Arsic says that the explanation that the statisticians provide are quite inconclusive, and that one of the biggest problems with collating and processing statistical data lies in the fact that Serbian Statistical Office is not an independent institution, but rather controlled by the government.
However, the head of the Serbian Statistical Office, Miladin Kovacevic rejects these claims as “nonsense”. “Our employment data corresponds to with the social insurance registry down to a thousand. Yes, there is shadow economy with two thirds of people working in agriculture are undocumented, and where there are seasonal workers whose number fluctuates”, Kovacevic explains.
The biggest discrepancies are found in the data about the workforce and average salary. Allegedly, and according to the state statistics, the average salary in December stood at 53,456 dinars which is almost a 17% hike compared to November.
Our interlocutors say that in this case too, the statistics paints a far prettier picture than reality. “Yes, this number is correct based on the analytical sample, but this sample is selective, incomplete and inaccurate”, economics professor Mario Reljanovic claims. “The Serbian Statistical Office includes public sector in its average salary statistical analysis, while small and medium enterprises are pushed onto the statistical margins. So, all in all, what this amount represents is actually an average salary in the public sector.”
(Deutsche Welle, 30.01.2017)
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