By: Vida Kocjan
Data on unemployment in the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU) show that unemployment in Slovenia is far below the European average. According to the survey unemployment indicator, Slovenia is among the seven best EU member states with 4.9 percent, where the average is 7.5 percent and the highest rate is 16.1 percent.
The data for Slovenia are extremely good, and the reason is mainly in the government’s measures to mitigate the consequences of the epidemic and help the economy. “Without these measures, survey unemployment would probably increase to around 8 percent,” Bojan Ivanc from Analitika of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia told for Demokracija. In addition to measures to mitigate the consequences of the epidemic, measures to stimulate the economy in Slovenia’s export partners are also very important.
Slovenia is among the best in the EU
There are far fewer unemployed in Slovenia than the average of the 27 member states of the European Union, where the February unemployment rate was 7.5%. Compared to Spain, which had the highest unemployment rate in February, at 16.1%, Slovenia has more than two thirds fewer unemployed people. A similar comparison can be also seen with Greece, where 15.8 percent were unemployed. Eight Member States have a higher-than-average rate in the EU and 19 states have a lower-than-average rate. France (8), Finland (8.1), Latvia (8.7), Sweden (8.8), Lithuania (9.6), Italy (10.2), Greece (15.8), and Spain (16.1) have higher unemployment rate than the EU average.
Lowest unemployment rate in the EU
The lowest unemployment rate is in Poland (3.1 percent), the second best with 3.2 percent is the Czech Republic, followed by the Netherlands with a 3.6 percent unemployment rate. These are followed by Malta (4.4 percent), Germany, and Hungary with 4.5 percent each. And close behind is Slovenia with 4.9 percent unemployed rate. This is shown by the data for February 2021 published by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat). The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development also published data for March and noted that the number of registered unemployed in Slovenia decreased further in March. They state that the number of unemployed increased in December last year and January this year, but this did not deviate significantly from the seasonal increases in the same period of previous years. The reason for this was in maintaining the state’s intervention measures, i.e. aid to the economy. For February, they note that the number of unemployed has fallen seasonally. In March, the decline in the number of unemployed intensified somewhat, which is attributed to seasonal factors as well as the easing of restrictions.
With great optimism forward
Thus at the end of March, 82,638 people were unemployed, which is 6.1 percent less than at the end of February, but it is still 6.1 percent more than a year ago. However, Ivanc from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry states that there is great optimism in the economy, which means a good prospect for employment in the coming months. They perceive optimism both at home and abroad, which is extremely important for our majority export-oriented economy and the preservation of jobs.
In March, 7,971 unemployed people were employed, which is almost a fifth more (19.7 percent) than in February and a third (32.1 percent) more than a year ago. These data are also very encouraging. At the same time, 4,569 new unemployed people registered with the Employment Service, which was 4.1 percent less than in February and 41.8 percent less than in March 2020. The prospects are therefore good.
Among the newly registered, there were 478 first-time jobseekers, 2,196 unemployed due to the expiry of fixed-term employment, 75 unemployed due to bankruptcies and 913 redundancies. The number of registered unemployed due to an expiry of fixed-term employment and redundancies was lower, namely the former 11.8 percent and the latter 10.9 percent. Compared to March last year, there were 6.2 percent more newly registered first-time job seekers, while the registration of redundant workers (62.6 percent less), the unemployed due to bankruptcies (27.2 percent less), and the unemployed after the end of fixed-term employment (33.9 percent less) decreased by almost two thirds.
From unemployment fast to employment
It is also interesting to note that out of 9,982 unemployed persons who were deregistered from the register in March, 7,971 persons were employed or self-employed, which is one fifth (19.7 percent) more than in February and one third (32.1 percent) more than March 2020. Among those who were employed, most were salesmen, workers for simple work in manufacturing, secretaries, workers for simple work in civil engineering, drywall contractors, masons, cleaners, servers, and domestic helpers, etc., in offices, hotels and other establishments, waiters, storekeepers, and purchasing and sales officers.
In the first three months of this year, 19,845 unemployed people registered at the institute, which is 18.4 percent less than last year. Most people applied because they lost their temporary job (11,337). Another 1,364 first-time jobseekers and 4,154 unemployed due to redundancies and bankruptcies applied. Compared to the same period last year, 19.5 percent fewer first-time job seekers, 13.5 percent fewer unemployed after the end of fixed-term employment, and 22.7 percent fewer redundant workers and bankruptcies registered at the institute. A total of 24,490 unemployed persons deregistered from the record, of which 19,239 due to employment, which is 16.1 percent more than in the comparable period in 2020.
Almost 300 thousand jobs were preserved
The government led by Janez Janša has so far adopted eight anti-corona law packages to mitigate the effects of the epidemic and help the economy and the population. These are the following measures:
- reimbursement of salary compensation for the time spent waiting for work,
- reimbursement of salary compensation for absence from work due to quarantine/force majeure,
- payment of a subsidy due to reducing of full-time work,
- payment of temporary cash compensation, and
- solidarity allowance for the unemployed.
Measures for the preservation of jobs are implemented by the Employment Service of Slovenia. According to the estimate of the departmental minister Janez Cigler Kralj and the government, almost 300 thousand jobs have been preserved so far.
If the government did not take measures to mitigate the effects of the epidemic and help the economy, unemployment would be even higher.