The national campaign implemented by the Albanian government at the end of 2015, against tax evasion, has succeeded in considerably reducing informal work in Albania. This was revealed by the Bank World-wiiw study, based on 2016-17 data.
According to the report 'Western Balkans Labor Market Trends 2018' , the Land of Eagles still holds the highest number - at the end of the 2016 - of informal workers among those aspiring to the European Union in the Western Balkans.
This report shows how informal work has fallen to 40% in the 2016, compared to the 51,3% of the 2014, but which continues to remain the highest value, with around 464.000 workers; the vast majority are self-employed in the agricultural sector (given that agriculture offers employment to around half of the Albanian population), who do not pay contributions for social security and health insurance.
This is evidenced by the comparison between the data published by the Albanian Statistics Institute (Instat) and those of the tax authorities: Instat reports, in fact, that around 464.000 people were working in the agricultural sector in the 2016, while only 31.000 were registered with the tax authorities and that when they paid contributions. Another sector particularly affected by 'invisible workers' is the building sector, where, according to World Bank data, about 70% of workers do not have a work contract.
The Institute for Democracy and Mediation of Tirana (IDM) argues that all this is due to the high unemployment rate (15,2%) above all for young people (30%). Whether it is a worker who works as a plumber (often without a license) or a cash-paid electrician, undeclared salaries are problems of particular importance in countries aspiring to the EU such as Albania and Kosovo:
"Hidden salaries remain the biggest concern for these EU-aspiring nations, as these working incomes are partially or totally undeclared."
Western Balkans: created 231 thousand jobs
In the six countries of the Western Balkans (Bosnia-Erzergovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia) an increase in the 3,9% of employment led to the creation of 231.000 new jobs between the second quarter of the 2016 and the second quarter of the 2017.
Leading the ranking of the countries that recorded the greatest increase in employment was Kosovo (+ 9,2%), followed by Serbia (+ 4,3%), Montenegro (3,5%), Albania (+ 3,4%), Macedonia (+ 3,5 %) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (+ 1,9%).
In the same period under consideration, the unemployment rate in the area fell from 18,6 to 16,2%.
In a statement, the World Bank has specified that, despite the progress highlighted, the six countries continue to suffer from low levels of activity, particularly among young people and women, high rates of long-term unemployment and prevalence of informal work, factors that continue to represent "a challenge for sustainable economic growth in the region".
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