Country Listing

Yugoslavia Table of Contents


Unemployment and Living Standards

When the world recession of 1979 forced many Yugoslav guest workers to return home, strong political pressure forced social sector enterprises to take up the slack by hiring surplus workers. This caused social sector productivity to fall by 20 percent from 1979 to 1985; real personal income of social sector employees dropped 25 percent and, despite the forced overemployment, unemployment in this sector increased from 14 percent in 1984 to nearly 20 percent in 1989. In 1989 an estimated 60 percent of Yugoslav workers lived at or below the minimum income level guaranteed by the state, and the standard of living had fallen by 40 percent since 1982--returning that indicator to the level of the mid-1960s. Average monthly takehome pay for an employee in the social sector was US$170 in 1989. Yugoslav officials estimated that closing unprofitable enterprises under the 1990 reforms might cause 2 million more workers to lose their jobs in the early 1990s.

Data as of December 1990