• © Eduard Genserek/AFP/Europress

    About the ILO in Slovakia

    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 71% of the EU average. 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. This development resulted in marked regional disparities, with Western Slovakia benefitting more from the presence of foreign investors. The rapid transformation led to EU membership in 2004 and the classification as a high-income country in 2007. After a 5% decline in economic output in the pandemic year of 2020, forecasts predict a quick recovery with growth rates between 3 and 5% for 2021.

    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 5.8% in 2019 (EU average 6.7%). Unemployment rose to 6.7% in 2020 but remains below the EU average of 7.1%. With one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, Slovakia experienced a high loss of working hours in 2020 (13% against the EU27 average of 8%). This was equal to almost 320.000 full-time jobs. Most of these jobs were preserved as firms resorted to reduced working hours and did not dismiss workers. Public job retention schemes played an important role. Continue reading