Unemployment Rate in Serbia at 21.6%

Serbian State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development Vladimir Ilic said on Wednesday that there are 826,572 unemployed persons in Serbia at this time, but it is estimated that the actual figure is 680,000 and the rate of unemployment is 21.6%, 'Serbia & Montenegro Today' reports.

Ilic told a press conference that a sum of RSD 2.3bn was allocated from the Serbian budget for increasing employment, which is 1bn more than in the previous year, while the number of unemployed persons is less than by 100,000 compared to the figure at the beginning of the year.

He pointed to the fact that there are many persons who are registered as unemployed because of benefits rather than for the purpose of finding a job. He added that some 100,000 persons are employed illegally. Ilic said that within five years the rate of unemployment could be reduced by half, in which the most important factor will be accelerated integration of Serbia into the EU.
According to Ilic, due to the completion of privatisation a large number of workers will be without a job in the next year, but precisely due to the conclusion of privatisation there will be also a sudden decrease in unemployment from 2009 onwards.
He said that during the upcoming year, within the framework of active measures for providing employment, it is planned that funds will be allocated from the budget for subsidies and loans. He explained that two types of subsidies will be provided, worth from EUR 1,000 to EUR 2000, to persons seeking self-employment and to employers for creating new jobs.

Above all small and medium-sized enterprises will be encouraged, and the sum of the stimulant will depend on the degree of regional development, said Ilic and announced that two kinds of start-up loans will be issued – for first time businesspeople, worth from EUR 5,000 to EUR 15,000, without conditions and mortgage, and developmental loans for expanding activities, introduction of new equipment, modernisation and innovation.

According to Ilic, it is envisaged that a special fund for subsidies will be formed to provide subsidies for salaries of employed persons with disabilities in the amount of 80% of profit, and special funds will be provided for employing members of the Roma community and other persons belonging to socially disadvantaged groups.
Director of the National Employment Service Tamara Samardzic said that owing to subsidies 8,655 persons were employed, among whom there are 2,800 persons older than 45 or 50 years, 4,700 up to 30 and 55 persons with disabilities.
According to Samardzic, during the first seven months a total of 71,000 persons were employed, 244,000 are no longer registered as unemployed, and 200,000 new employees were registered. Of the total number of unemployed persons, 28% are young, of 19 to 30 years, while those older than 50 years number 185,000.

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