Extensible unemployment statistics in Serbia

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9,000 workers lost their jobs in Serbia, 9,700 were re-employed, and the data on 200,000 of those who lost their jobs in two and a half months surprised the President of Serbia, who admits that he had never heard of the “Secons Group”, which conducted this research.
The fact that the Covid 19 pandemic had great consequences for the labor force in Serbia, and especially the data on 200,000 people who lost their jobs, presented by the “Secons Group”, surprised Aleksandar Vucic, the President of Serbia, last week.
He first asked which group it was, because he had not heard of them, adding that “anyone can come out with a survey that four million people have lost their jobs,” adding that Serbia even has a surplus of some 633 people.
“Do you know what 200,000 people are, what kind of black research you are talking about,” he asked.
By the way, the mentioned group did research on a sample of 1,600 respondents, including market vendors, hygienists, caregivers, ie all those who could not physically come to work due to the state of emergency, and could not do this work from home.
So, it remains an enigma how these data were obtained in general, and it is especially unclear where so much difference between them and the official statistics, which confirms that about 9,000 employees lost their jobs. The President of Serbia agreed with these data, at the same time adding that about 9,700 found employment again.
This illogicality of 200,000 is all the greater if we take into account the data of the NES, which shows that the number of unemployed in the records has decreased in the previous two months by about 2,000, while about 9,200 newcomers applied for unemployment benefits.
Sinisa Mali, the Minister of Finance, also confirmed that there is no talk of an “army” of the fired, that is, statistics of 200,000 of them, emphasizing that the current unemployment is around 10%, which is around 8,790, which is a “decent number for a small country”. .
That Serbia passed the state of emergency without dramatic shocks on the labor market is also shown by the analysis published in the May issue of the magazine “Macroeconomic Analysis and Trends” (MAT), according to which no significant increase in unemployment was recorded until mid-April. Compared to the end of February, the number of employees in Serbia on April 10 was lower by 2,032, experts underline.
In the sea of obviously inconsistent data, according to prof. Ljubodrag Savic from the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, the number of 200,000 citizens who lost their jobs is the most striking. Savic believes that, as he added, “fingers got involved in that research”.
– I have no impression that exactly 200,000 citizens lost their jobs in a state of emergency. It’s too many people, we’re not even close to that figure. On the other hand, what the Employment Bureau publishes should be reliable and somewhat accurate. However, that does not mean that only that many people lost their jobs, because we should also keep in mind how many of them did not actually register at the bureau – Savic points out.
He also believes that there were no mass layoffs during the state of emergency, because economic measures gave results, but he still expects that a number of employers, when the minimum payments pass, will be forced to lay off workers because they will not have jobs like before the crisis.
– We need to face the fact that we have already entered a more difficult period, although the crisis has not yet shown its true face. We will only face problems: society, individuals and the economy. I do not expect that, with the passing of the epidemic, the situation on the Serbian labor market will return to pre-crisis, because the situation on the labor market will not depend exclusively on the degree of recovery of our economy, but also on economic growth in countries with which we have the strongest ties, says Ljubodrag Savic.
Another illogicality, for which the truth is explained, is pointed out by prof. Zoran Stojiljkovic, from the Faculty of Political Sciences, is also the president of UGS “Nezavisnost”.
– The official number of employees published by the Republic Bureau of Statistics differs from the data kept by the Central Register of Compulsory Social Insurance, and that difference is a matter of different management of the methodology of these two institutions. CROSO records only those who have a contract with the employer for an indefinite or definite period of time, and the estimates of the statistical office include those who are not insured on that basis – underlines Stojiljkovic.
The data of the “Secons Group” about 200,000 people who lost their jobs during the state of emergency did not completely convince the president of UGS “Nezavisnost” of the truth, because he thinks that the reality of the number of those who lost their jobs is somewhere between 9,000 and those 200,000.
– The difference between the official numbers and the real ones is at least five times bigger, maybe six or seven, even eight times bigger, to the detriment of the official statistics of the NES. But, if we included in this new number of unemployed those who lost their income in the gray economy (freelancers, those who sell on closed stalls on the street), then we would approach the “Secons” statistics of 200,000 people who are in state of emergency left without a job – says prof. Zoran Stojiljkovic, Politika reports.