The ILO and Croatia

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    Names of mostly young people who went abroad in search for jobs are written on tiles of a bus station in Imotski, Southern Croatia. Youth unemployment rates went down from a record level of 50% in 2013 to 17% in 2019, and increased again to 22 % in 2020 because of the pandemic (EU27: 16%).

    About the ILO in Croatia

    Can a strong recovery cure the long-term ills of low economic diversification and a shrinking population?

    The three decades since Croatia’s independence in 1991 were turbulent. The country experienced a dramatic 30 per cent drop of GDP because of the war in the 1990s. GDP only reached its pre-war level more than 10 years later in 2003. However, the unemployment rate remained high and labour force participation was low.

    Croatia again was hit by an economic contraction because of the Great Recession. The economic crisis led to a 13% decline of GDP (2009-14) which was the second largest contraction in the EU after Greece. The unemployment rate doubled to 18% in 2014 and the youth unemployment rate increased to a record high of almost 50% (2013). EU membership supported the recovery (2015-19), which was robust and broad-based. However, Croatia is only slowly catching up with the rest of EU. The country’s GDP per capita stands at 64% (2020) of the EU average – only 3 percentage points higher than 10 years ago – and recently declined, partly because the economic downturn was more severe than in most of the EU.   Continue reading