Western Balkans Labor Market Trends 2018

World Bank Group, Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Mar, 2018

Executive Summary

his second report on the Western Balkan labor market trends presents an analysis of key labor market indicators for the six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia) and selected EU countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary) between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017. The report begins with an overview of labor market developments drawn from the Jobs Gateway in South Eastern Europe database (https://SEEJobsGateway.net) and is followed by a special topic on improving data quality and increasing knowledge of labor mobility in the Western Balkans.

The Western Balkan countries made great strides in improving labor market outcomes between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017. On average, regional labor markets recorded improvements in activity rates (up 1.2 percentage points to 62 percent), employment rates (up 2.5 percentage points to 51.9 percent), unemployment rates (down 2.4 percentage points to 16.2 percent), and youth unemployment rates (down 5.3 percentage points to 37.6 percent). In some countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, the FYR Macedonia, and Serbia – unemployment reached historical lows.

Over the period, roughly 231,000 jobs were created in this region, and self-employment accounted for almost 60 percent of the total employment increase. Job growth was particularly strong in Kosovo (9.2 percent) and Serbia (4.3 percent), where growth was driven primarily by construction, health, and manufacturing (Kosovo), and industry and services (Serbia). In Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, women gained disproportionately from recent employment growth (an increase of 75,000 or 6.2 percent in Serbia and an increase of 19,000 or 6.8 percent in Bosnia and Herzegovina, compared with an increase of 45,000 or 2.9 percent for men in Serbia and a decrease of 4,500 or - 0.9 percent for men in Bosnia and Herzegovina). On average, those who benefited most from the recent job growth were older (55-64 years of age) and younger (15-24 years of age) workers, and the highly educated with tertiary education. 


Read the full report here.

Workforce Development
Europe & Central Asia
Financial Capability
Market Development
Market Research & Assessments