From: Erjon Kalaja
Employment and the Unemployed

One of the main reasons for the popularity of political rhetoric is that everyone can be right about what they say, no matter how the rhetoric of one side is opposed the rhetoric of the other.

The prime minister repeatedly reiterates how hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created during his government, while critics and his opposition repeatedly recall how many thousands of jobs have been lost during this time.

How can both parties be right – or, at least, how can both sides be right with what they are saying?

There are jobs and there are net jobs.

This is true not only for today, but has been so in the past years as well. Everything can be clearly seen and explained in the chart below, created with INSTAT data.


The first line, job seekers /unemployed, in the table at the bottom give us the net employment, which, as can be seen, has been going down from 2000 to 2005 and in the following years tends to be relatively stable.

The unemployment rate in 2005 was 153,000, in 2013 there were 143,000 unemployed people, and in 2016 there were 119,700.

The net decrease in the number of unemployed persons in Albania for 2005–2013 is approximately 10,000 people and for the period 2013–2016 there approximately 23,000 people, marking the record for the lowest number of job seekers in these 16 years.

Despite optimism and joy about the decreased net joblessness, the figure of 23,000 people is far behind the promised one of 300,000 new jobs, or of the claim of creating 183,000 new jobs in the period 2013–2017.

If the current government would have created 183,000 new jobs then we would have had at least 40,000 immigrants coming to Albania.

Keeping the promise for 220,000 new jobs over the next four years would force Albania to issue residence permits for some 100,000 non-resident foreigners!

The fact that employment growth does not translate into the perception of the absence of the growth of purchasing power is related to another INSTAT chart showing unemployed job seekers registered by age, gender, and educational level, which would require another slightly broader analysis. But one thing can not be mentioned in relation to this. In the period 2013–2016 the net number of job seekers with higher education is not only the highest one but it has doubled compared with the year 2000.

Regarding the issue of holding the electoral promise for 220,000 new jobs, one thing would be certain if the ruling coalition wins. Either we will have 100,000 foreign immigrants in Albania or if we will have employment without lowering the total number of unemployed. That is, we will have a deep reform in the administration, which will make at least 200,000 people look for jobs in the private sector.