With Summer Almost Over, Unemployment to Start Rising Again

Total Croatia News

Seasonal trends in Croatia’s labour market continue.

In July, the decline in the number of unemployed stopped at about 170,000 people, of which 30,000 people have never been employed, 42,000 are younger than 29, and 60,000 are older than 50 and will probably never be able to find a job. Every other unemployed person, 88,000 of them, is considered as a long-term unemployed because they have been registered as such for more than a year. Such a large share of long-term unemployed is a bitter reminder that Croatian society and economy are struggling with massive structural constraints and problems, regardless of the fact that employers are lamenting the shortage of labour, and the state has increased quotas for foreign workers, reports Večernji List on August 15, 2017.

Older people have much-diminished chances of finding a job. Darko Oračić, an analyst with the Croatian Employment Service, says that as many as 82 percent of the unemployed over the age of 60 are long-term unemployed. Individuals who lose their jobs between the ages of 50 and 54 also mostly (66 percent) remain long-term unemployed. More worryingly, as much as 52 percent of the unemployed between 35 and 39 years old are also long-term unemployed; they either do not have the right skills to find a job, or they live in areas which are so underdeveloped that there are simply no jobs for anyone. About half of long-term unemployed persons aged between 40 and 49 have a university degree. Money is directed towards young people, and their employment obviously is not enough since 30 percent of young men and women between the ages of 20 and 24 are also long-term unemployed.

Croatia has managed to lower the unemployment rate to a record low level, below 11 percent, but at the same time the number of unemployed is similar to the number of inhabitants of Međimurje County and will soon start increasing again thanks to seasonal oscillations; that trend will continue until spring 2018 and the beginning of the new tourist season.

Sociologist Teo Matković explains that, in the last three years, the number of unemployed at the beginning of every month was by about 50,000 lower than the year before, but this decrease was not the result of an increase in employment. The numbers reflect poor demographic trends, emigration, temporary jobs and the effects of state measures such as vocational training.

Zvonimir Savić, an analyst with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, warns that the Croatian unemployment rate is now being formed at significantly lower levels of employment and activity rates than before the economic crisis. For example, in May 2008, Croatia had the unemployment rate at 13 percent (the current rate has dropped to 10.8 percent) with 167,000 more employed persons than now, and with 220,000 more active persons than today.

Employers demand from the government to urgently change educational programmes and immigration policies. The Slovenian model for the employment of foreigners, which is not defined by annual quotas but is more dependent on supply and demand, has the support of Luka Burilović, president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber also proposed the abolishment of the ban on minors working after 8 pm and the possibility for retirees to work without losing their pensions.

However, according to Matković, in addition to people recorded in the unemployment registers, there are about 180,000 discouraged workers who would like to work, but are not currently actively looking for a job and are therefore generally not registered with the Croatian Employment Service. According to the Labour Force Survey, in the years before the crisis, the number of discouraged workers was less than 100,000.

“The European labour market is open to our citizens, which is a great challenge for local employers in times of growing demand for labour. Companies have to fight for employees – invest in training and improvement, working conditions, salaries, permanent employment and ensuring sufficient productivity to make them competitive,” says Matković. However, programmes that motivate employers to invest in workers are less widely accepted than measures such as vocational training which deliver skilled workers to employers free of charge.

Translated from Večernji List.


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