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Istinomjer analysis: Over half a million unemployed in BiH

Alisa Karović

nezaposlenost-400x300In the end of June 2014, the director of the Labour and Employment Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adnan Delić said that in the past year according to the register of employment services of BiH, more than 100,000 people has been employed. While this information may sound optimistic, if we go deeper into analysis of these data, we can very easily conclude that the employment situation in our country is not that good.

If we look at the monthly bulletins of the Agency, the data according to which over 100,000 people were removed from register for employment is accurate, but big differences appear when comparing the data of state agencies with the data of the entities’ agencies for employment. Those differences are even more so if we compare the data on newly registered in the unemployment registers.

In the period of May 2013 – May 2014, according to reports of the Labour and Employment Agency of BiH, there was a total of 100,058 people employed. However, according to the entities’ services, at the same time 57,844 people were employed in FBiH and 29,546 in RS, a total of 87,390 new employees.

The imbalance is much bigger if we compare the data on the number of newly registered in the records of entities with information on newly registered reported in the statements of the Agency. According to the Agency during the period of May 2013 – May 2014 there was a record of 181,368 new registered persons seeking work, and another 105,400 persons whose employment was terminated.

If we look at data of the entities employment services, in the same period in the Federation there was 94,583 new unemployed registered, while the RS service reported 64,776 of them. According to these data, there was a total of 159,359 new registered unemployed people in both entities over the past year.

Having in mind these figures, it is interesting to look at the pre-election campaign promises of the ruling parties about this topic.

Thus, for instance, SDP BiH promised to “significantly increase the number of employees, and reduce the number of unemployed workers,” which obviously didn’t happen. Given that the number of unemployed in FBiH during the current term grew by nearly 20,000, while the number of employees rose by just over 2,000, we can’t speak about any significant increase and the promise will probably remain unfulfilled.

In March 2011, when SPD BiH formed the Government of FBiH, the records were 367,255 of unemployed persons, while in May this year the figure rose to 386,801 unemployed. Thus, the number of unemployed in the current mandate of the Government of FBiH grew by 19,546 people. Number of employees in the Federation at the start of the term was 439,994, while in March this year there were 439,496 employees, while the number of employees in April this year was of 442,111, which shows a slight increase comparing to the previous month.

Number of employees in the Federation the beginning of mandate the FBiH Government was 439,994, while in March this year it was 439,496, in April 2014 this number slightly increased to 442,111.

It is interesting, that the leading party in RS, the SNSD, generally didn’t give any campaign promises about increasing the employment, however, such a promise was made by the SP RS party, whose president Petar Đokić performs the function of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy in this BiH entity.

This party before the 2010 elections has promised an “active employment policy”, giving also a number of other promises related to increasing employment and reducing unemployment in the RS. Bearing in mind that the number of unemployed remained at almost the same level, and that the number of employees has decreased compared to the beginning of the mandate of the Government of RS, it can be concluded in this case that neither of these promises will be fulfilled.

In the beginning of the mandate of government of RS in January 2011, according to the RS Institute for Employment, in RS there were 147,912 unemployed registered, in January 2014 this figure has increased to 150,193. In the first four months of this year, the number of people registered at the RS Employment Service decreased to 146,172 unemployed, except that only small part of those who have been erased from the record, really got a job. For example in 2013 there were 61,050 person erased from the records of the Institute, but only 27,996 were deleted on the basis of employment and 864 on the basis of the performance of private activity. The remaining 33,054 persons were deleted from the register on other basics, not because they have found employment.

Also, the number of employees in the Republika Srpska is in constant decrease. The exception was the year 2013, when a slight increase was recorded. In 2010, 244,543 employees were registered, in 2013 that number totaled of 238,640, which is significantly lower than the number of employees at the beginning of the current term.

In April this year, the total number of registered unemployed in the Federation of BiH and in Republika Srpska was over half a million people, more precisely 534,580.

The overall results of the two entities’ governments of the current mandate with this slightly noticeable improvement in the previous year does not give much reason for satisfaction, because the number of unemployed is approximately the same or greater than in the time when the current government took over the mandate in 2010/2011.