Vecernji List: Croatia entered 2023 with 1.6m jobs, a 14-year high

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Croatia had "entered 2023 with 1.6 million workers, around 36,000 more than in the same period of 2022 but also around 9,000 down from December 2022, the state information platform Hina said on Friday, in their summary of an article published by the Vecernji List daily which commented on January labor data.

“A month-on-month drop in the number of workers has been reported every month since August 2022, and the trend is usually reversed in January or February, when stronger seasonal hiring starts,” Hina cited unnamed analysts from the Raiffeisen Bank.

Compared to December 2020, there are 71,000 more pension insurees registered with the state pension fund HZMO, and compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019 the number is up by 62,000. In 2022 the employment rate surpassed that of the record year 2008. The registered unemployment rate of 6.7 percent (8.1 percent for women) is slightly above the overall unemployment rate in the euro zone.

However, the employment rate of 69 percent in Q3 2022 is still significantly below the EU average of 75 percent. Only Italy and Greece have less people in employment, as a proportion of the entire active, i.e. employable, population. Currently slightly fewer than 120,000 jobseekers are registered with the national employment service, which is around 15,000 more than during the summer months.

At the same time, there are 19,000 vacancies advertised by the employment service, as well as around 200 part-time jobs for pensioners – nurses, sales assistants, cooks and assistant cooks, waiters and couriers.

There are hence about six times more jobseekers than vacancies. Croatia has a total population of 3.88 million, which includes about 3.2 million adults over the age of 18.

The Ministry of the Interior has said that by December 2022 it approved around 115,000 residence and work permits for foreign nationals. Hina did not say which period this figure refers to, they presumably meant for the whole of 2022.

The hospitality sector has restored the employment rate to the level of the pre-pandemic year 2019. Over the past three years, new jobs were created mostly in the construction sector (around 15,000) and professional, technical and scientific activities (around 11,000).

Employment has been rising steadily in the construction sector for the past seven years, and the sector ended 2022 with 131,000 workers. A strong, 20 percent increase in employment (10,000 workers) was also reported by the IT sector and that trend has been going on since 2015.

The education sector, with its 119,000 employees today, has 7,000 more employees than it did in 2019, and the manufacturing industry and health care and social welfare each have 5,000 more employees. Public administration, on the other hand, now has 4,000 fewer employees than three years ago, so employees in that sector will have the opportunity to work until the age of 67, Hina cited the Vecernji List article as saying.