Denying the validity of the results of the research conducted SeConS Group, according to which 200,000 people who had a job in February lost it by April, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that the research should have been conducted in line with the Eurostat in order to be acceptable.
In response to Vučić’s criticism, Marija Babović, professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade and president of SeConS Group, said that the number of people who registered with National Employment Service as unemployed represents only a small part of the huge number of people who lost their jobs.
“We are talking not only about employees who have an open-ended job contract, or those who contact the National Employment Service in case of job loss. What we consider “employees” in our survey was the entire army of people who are ‘invisible’ in the system – from vendors in outdoor markets to those people who earn their living by doing maintenance on the property of others or to those who care for the sick people in their homes,” Babović explains.
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It is for these reasons that there are large discrepancies in the data reported by officials and those from independent research on the number of people who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to SeconS study, about 200,000 people, or 8% of workers, including undocumented workers and the self-employed, lost their jobs in Serbia during the pandemic.
On the other hand, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić claims that during the state of emergency 9,000 workers lost their jobs and about 9,700 found a job during the pandemic.
“Who are those people? This SeConS Group? They thought that it would be a good thing to say something against someone and bigger the fabrication the better,” said Vučić when asked by a journalist to comment on the results of the SeConS survey.
Dr Marija Babović said that the number of people who turn to the National Employment Service to register as unemployed represents only a small part of the huge number of people who lost their jobs.
“According to our research, which indicates that about 200,000 people lost their jobs during the state of emergency in Serbia, but only a small part turned to the National Employment Service,” she added.
“The survey was conducted on a representative sample of 1,600 people who were employed in February 2020, including undocumented workers and the self-employed. The definition of employment by the International Labour Organization, Eurostat and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia state that an employee is defined as a person who worked at least one hour in the week for cash benefits or benefits-in-kind, or who was temporarily absent from work, for example, due to illness, but have a guaranteed job to which they can return,” explains Marija Babović.
The survey, therefore, shows that 8% of workers in February lost their jobs by mid-April.
“This is 8% of our sample. When we applied the data from the latest Workforce Survey of the Statistical Office of the Republic, we generated the number of about 200,000 people. In 2019, according to the workforce survey, there were a total of 2,901,000 workers in Serbia, and when the number of registered individual farmers is deducted from this number, which is 452,700, the figure reaches 2,448,300. If we calculate 8% of that number, we get almost 200,000 people who have lost their jobs,” concludes Marija Babović.
This post is also available in: Italiano