As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, it’s to be expected that the start of seasonal employment will break the trend of the increase in the number of unemployed people on a monthly basis, as it always does each and every year. In January, 122,369 unemployed people were registered with the Croatian Employment Service (CES), meaning that on a monthly basis, the number of registered unemployed persons continued to grow for the fourth month in a row. Compared to December, it increased by 4553 or 3.9%.
However, at the annual level, as RBA analysts point out in their analysis, the downward trend that began back in April 2021 has continued, and compared to the same period in 2022, a decrease of 8,624 persons or 6.6% was recorded.
“Compared to January 2021, the number of unemployed people registered at the CES is lower by 42,976 people or 26%, while compared to January 2020, it’s lower by 17,555 people or 12.5%. This is a reflection of the recovery of economic activity after the coronavirus pandemic, but also of generally positive trends across the Croatian labour market, which has been reflected in the improvement compared to the period before the outbreak of the pandemic,” the analysis states.
Under the influence of these processes, the Croatian labour market is active and the demand for workers definitely hasn’t decreased, and according to RBA analysts, the lack of labour in certain industries is also reflected in the increase in the number of workers coming into Croatia from third countries.
According to the Institute’s data, the number of received applications for residence and work permits for foreign (non-EEA) workers in 2022 stood at almost 130,000, and 109,241 were granted by MUP. During January, 12,653 applications were received for 163 occupations, and the most requested were from the construction industry. Most of the requests received came from the City of Zagreb, followed by Istria and Split-Dalmatia counties.
However, reliable statistics on the total number of workers from third countries don’t yet exist, so we can only talk about estimates, the analysis emphasises. Economist Damir Novotny has drawn attention to the fact that it isn’t a question of the general robustness of the Croatian labour market, but of the sectoral one, because the Croatian labour market is quite shallow and there’s a big difference from sector to sector, as well as territorially, so one type of trends applies to Adriatic Croatia, and the other for the continental part of the country, and especially for the City of Zagreb.
“The whole of eastern Slavonia has a weak offer of jobs spanning all sectors, while Istria has a trend of immigration because it has a very strong offer of jobs in the tourism sector, but also in the accompanying activities that supply it with food and various services, which is why Istria is the most developed Croatian region after Zagreb,” explained Novotny.
Of the total number of unemployed registered back in January, 12,996 (77.1%) came from previous employment, and the most common reason for their job termination was the expiration of a fixed-term employment contract (52.4%). Back at the end of January, there were almost 28,000 vacancies, which is 77.5% more than there were back at the end of 2022 and 5.3% on an annual basis.
According to RBA analysts, the Croatian labour market is continuing to show very strong resistance to unfavourable economic and geopolitical trends so far in 2023 – this is a characteristic of the entire EU, which is contributed to by the already present labour shortage. In the coming months, they expect the continuation of positive trends, but at a lower intensity due to the slowdown in economic activities.
Novotny notes that tourism, despite the global slowdown in economic activity, will continue the strong growth that began last year as new capacities are opened and investments are being made, and this is similar to the construction sector, which is facing an investment cycle funded by the EU. Processes on the Croatian labour market in the upcoming period will also continue to differ greatly from sector to sector.
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