Boosting Job Growth in the Western Balkans

Labor markets in a number of South Eastern European countries are characterized by high levels of unemployment and low rates of job creation. The Balkan countries also have some of the highest youth and long-term unemployment rates in Europe.
Many of these economies face a unique set of challenges: labor market problems are especially severe among the emerging market economies which are not members of the European Union, namely, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
In particular, this paper aims to bring to light the relatively weak performance of the Balkan labor markets in a cross-country context; analyze the factors that may have contributed to this longstanding problem?the unfinished transition process, the institutional setup of labor markets, including possible market rigidities, and labor cost factors; and presents a range of policy recommendations for tackling these problems while keeping in mind that the labor market challenges differ across countries, and reforms to address these challenges must be carefully tailored to specific country circumstances.

Additional Information

Supported by:
International Monetary Fund

Year of publication


Country(ies) relevant for your entry

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia




  • Dmitriy Kovtun
  • Alexis Meyer Cirkel
  • Zuzana Murgasova
  • Dustin Smith
  • Suchanan Tambunlertchai