New figures released by INSTAT show that both wages and the employment level increased during the second quarter of 2021. This could be an indicator of economic recovery, driven in part by the tourism season following the pandemic-induced downturn.
Data published by the Albanian Institute of Statistics show that the average monthly wage increased by almost 5% when compared to the same period last year. The average individual now takes home 56,710 Lek or EUR 466.72.
The average salary has been on an upwards trajectory, asides from a dip during 2020, since 2018. While the increase is good news on paper, it must be considered in the context of rising inflation.
In terms of wages by sector, those working in insurance earned around 2.3 times more than the average salary, while those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing, earn a steep 36.7% less.
As for those that witnessed the biggest increase in salary, retail, transport, accommodation, and food services grew by 9.2% As prices continue to boom, particularly in Tirana, it’s surprising that real estate agents saw the smallest amount of growth at just 0.7% when compared with 2020.
After the financial services sector, those working in IT, public administration, and arts and entertainment had the highest salaries. Those in the IT sector take home on average just shy of 90,000 lek (EUR 740) a month.
Employment also registered a slight increase based on the previous year. During Q2 21, the employment rate for those aged between 15 and 64, was 60.7%. This was an increase of 1% in the same period of 2020, and 2.9% compared with Q1 21.
The official unemployment rate in Albania as of Q2 21 is 11.6%. This decreased by 2.5% when compared to the whole of 2020. The average rate in the EU is just 7.1%.
When it comes to the youth unemployment rate, specifically those between 15-29, it has reached 19.9%, although this is a decrease of 1.5 percentage points on the previous year. The EU average for youth unemployment is 16.8%.
It’s likely that much of this increase will be down to work in the tourism sector. The start of the summer season in April/May saw restaurants and hotels hire greater numbers of staff. These are mainly seasonal roles and by October, most will be out of work.
More men are employed than women. Currently, female labor force participation is 60.9% while for men it’s 77.3% evidencing a big disparity between the two. Women’s participation only increased by a barely noticeable 0.2% in 2020.
In August, inflation hit a four-year-high at 2.4%. This is the highest since January 2017, according to INSTAT. This has lead to a surge in the price of eggs, dairy, meat, bread, fruit, and vegetables.
Coffee has also increased in price by up to 40%.
The rise in costs can be attributed to a variety of factors including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global supply chain.
Meanwhile, the American Chamber of Commerce’s Business Index for 2020 found that confidence in doing business in the country was falling. In fact, Albania’s score which fell to 37.6 out of 100, was the lowest since the index’s inception in 2012.