While the Croatian government likes to point to a drop in unemployment, latest Eurostat data published yesterday show that Croatia has the largest decline in employment among the EU countries, reports Index.hr on September 14, 2017.
In the second quarter of this year, Croatia recorded a 0.8 percent drop in employment compared to the previous quarter, which is the worst result among all EU countries. Compared with the same period last year, the decline was 1.6 percent.
Negative employment rates compared to the previous quarter, along with Croatia, were recorded by Latvia (-0.7 percent), Romania (-0.6 percent) and Estonia (-0.5 percent). On the other hand, Malta (1.0 percent), Spain (0.9 percent), Greece and Poland (0.8 percent) had the highest growth in employment at the quarterly level.
At the EU level, the annual growth rate of employment was 0.4 percent, and 1.5 percent compared with the previous year.
Prime Minister Plenković boasted in early July that the number of unemployed persons in Croatia had fallen below 170,000, adding that it was “the lowest absolute number since 1990.” He also said there would be a growth of employment, adding that he expected “government measures to lift the employment rate up to 68 percent by the end of the term.” “With these trends and actions we will take, I believe we are on the right track,” the Prime Minister said.
But, even President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović rejected his optimist. During a recent visit to the Lika region, she said that unemployment figures were wrong and that the reason for the falling number of unemployed was mass emigration of people from Croatia.
In the meantime, Plenković has acknowledged there is a problem of individuals leaving Croatia, but explained that “relevant data show that today there are about 50,000 more workers than two years ago and 25,000 more than last year.” “The share of unemployed young people fell from 50 percent a few years ago to 34 percent today. The fact is that the labour market situation is improving,” Plenković said before the latest figures were published.
Economist Velimir Šonje commented on the latest data. “As far as employment is concerned, we are stagnating. Our economic growth rate is not enough to achieve a significant increase in employment,” said Šonje. “This is a result of our already well-known weaknesses and the failure to implement reforms. The situation only shows that the growth we have is not fast enough.”
“The fall in unemployment is a fact, but we also know that the bulk of unemployment decline is linked to emigration, on the one hand, and to ageing population on the other. Given the population decline, we actually have stagnation of employment and a fall in unemployment,” he added.
Economic analyst Ljubo Jurčić shared his view. “In any case, it is not good; I have been saying for years that we must not look at unemployment, but rather at the number of employed. Employment grows just during the tourist season, and not as much as it used to,” said Jurčić.
“People are leaving, industrial production is falling, and tourism is developing on its own. These latest tourism results are not the effect of Croatian economic policies, but a combination of our history, position, natural beauties and the fact that tourism in Europe is increasing at a rate of 3.5 percent per year, which then spreads to our country as well. All this is used to hide the actual data that industrial production and employment are falling,” said Jurčić.
Translated from Index.hr.