Saturday, March 2, 2024

OPPOSING ESTIMATES ON CURRENT ECONOMIC SITUATION

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Judging by the official data, Serbian economy has survived the first wave of corona pandemic, while the manufacturing industry has even registered some growth. In a statement issued recently, the Chamber of Commerce seemed to be convinced that the economic activities would be brought back to normality by mid-May. Out of 130,000 employees sent to forced leaves at the peak of the crisis, they said, 42,000 have already been back to their work places in more than 40 companies and the number will grow with a progressive reopening of the public transport.
From 50 to 60% of small and medium enterprises, employing round 350,000 people, have not closed their doors during the past turbulent period and the rest are expected to reopen also by mid-May. For the moment there is information about only little more than a thousand work contracts that were cancelled at the initiative of the employers.
There are, however, critics of the official position saying that many small companies will never manage to recover and will leave tens of thousands of workers without a job. Those remaining will face salary reductions, forced holidays and paid/unpaid leaves, while the number of the unemployed will steadily grow (next year it could reach 13%, which is a considerable increase compared to today’s 10%).
According to the data of the research agency Infostud, one third of the total work force has been temporarily sent home to “rest” and 12% lost their jobs definitely (one half for closure of their companies and one third for decline of business activities). A survey done by the agency showed that one third of the workers feared for the future of their jobs.

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