The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.
While unemployment rates in Europe declined after the global financial crisis until 2018/19, the incidence of long-term unemployment, the share of people who have been unemployed for more than one year to the total unemployed, remained high. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic could aggravate the long-term unemployment. This paper explores factors associated with long-term unemployment in European countries, using panel of 25 European countries over the period 2000–18. We find that skill mismatches, labor market matching efficiency, and labor market policies are associated with the incidence of long-term unemployment. Among different types of active labor market policies, training and start-up incentives are found to be effective in reducing long-term unemployment.
Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Mrs. Armine Khachatryan, William Lindquist, Ms. Nhu Nguyen, Ms. Faezeh Raei, and Jesmin Rahman
In the past 25 years, exports have contributed strongly to growth and economic convergence in many small open economies. However, the Western Balkan (WB) region, consisting of small emerging market economies, has not fully availed itself of this driver of growth and convergence. A lack of openness, reliance on low value products, and weak competitiveness largely explain the insignificant role of trade and exports in the region’s economic performance. This paper focuses on how the countries in the WB could lift exports through stronger integration with global value chains (GVCs) and broadening of services exports.
The experience of countries that joined the European Union in or after 2004 shows that participation in GVCs can help small economies accelerate export and income growth. WB countries are not well integrated into Europe’s vibrant GVCs. Trade within the region is also limited—it tends to be bilateral and not cluster-like. Our analysis shows that by improving infrastructure and labor skills and adopting trade policies that ensure investor protection and harmonize regulations and legal provisions, the region can greatly enhance its engagement with GVCs.
Services exports are an increasingly important part of global trade, and they offer an untapped source of growth. The magnitude of services exports from the WB region compares favorably with that of peers in Europe, particularly in travel services where several of these countries have a revealed comparative advantage. But there is significant room for growth in tourism exports and an untapped potential in business and information technology services exports that these countries can materialize through policy efforts that increase openness and enhance connectivity and labor skills. Serbia offers a good example of how decisive efforts, including education policies to ensure a sustained supply of skilled labor, can help information technology services exports to take off.