Strong progress with improved employment outcomes for most, but not all
After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into its two constituent parts in 1993, the Slovak Republic witnessed considerable catch-up growth relative to EU average. National income per capita more than doubled and is now at 76% of EU average. The growth has been driven by a strong inflow of foreign direct investment facilitated by relatively low wages, skilled labour, and the proximity to Western Europe. The rapid transformation led to EU membership in 2004 and the classification as a high income country in 2007.
The significant progress made on income convergence with the EU has translated into substantial improvement of employment outcomes. The country reduced its long-standing unemployment problem from a peak unemployment rate of 20% in 2000 to 6.6% in 2018 (EU average 6.7%). The employment rate is at 72%, almost reaching the target of 75% as defined in the Europe 2020 strategy which is the EU’s current agenda for growth and jobs. Improved labour market outcomes have led to substantial reductions of at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion rates (18 % in 2016), where Slovakia performs better than the EU average.
Remaining challenges are the relatively high youth unemployment (19%), one of the highest shares of long-term unemployed in EU (60%), low labour market participation of disadvantaged groups (especially Roma), persisting gender disparities in the labour market, and labour shortages in some sectors, especially in the booming regions of Western Slovakia.
The ILO in the Slovak Republic
Czechoslovakia was one of the founding members of the ILO in 1919. After the break-up of the country the Slovak Republic became an ILO member state in in the same year (1993).
The ILO assisted the Slovak Republic in its economic and labour market transformation and in its accession to the EU in 2004. Since then, the ILO has not maintained a permanent presence in the country.