Unemployment continues to fall despite a flat economy

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Macedonia Country Dashboard - 2017 -Q1 update

The economy was flat in the first quarter of 2017 with a decrease of -0.04 percent in real GDP compared to the same quarter last year (year-ending). As a result, the year-on-year average for real GDP fell from 2.4 percent last quarter to 1.8 percent this quarter (graph 1).

In production terms (at constant prices), there were notable year-ending decreases in construction (‑6.3 percent); public administration, defence, health, and education (-3.9 percent); and, arts, recreation, and household production (-9.9 percent). In expenditure terms (at constant prices), household final consumption increased by 2.7 percent year-ending, while Government spending grew modestly. Net exports decreased by 16.4 percent.

Despite the decrease in GDP, unemployment continued to decrease this quarter and through the year. Further, the percentage of people working or looking for work increased (to a participation rate of 56.7 percent).

Growth Measures

New 2014 and 2015 unemployment data from the World Bank Development Indicators shows that while Macedonia’s unemployment rate continues to fall, the unemployment rate of its peers is also falling. Thus, Macedonia continues to lag most of its Country Dashboard peers in terms of unemployment (table 1).


Table 1: Macedonia Country Dashboard: Growth Measures


Table 2: Macedonia Country Dashboard: Growth Enablers



Macedonia now tenth in the world for ease of doing business but corruption and education rankings fall


Macedonia Country Dashboard - 2016 -Q4 update

Објавата е достапна на македонски јазик овде.

Macedonia continued to grow steadily in quarter four 2016 with year-on-year growth of 2.4 percent. Unemployment continues to decrease and now stands at 23.1 percent; the lowest level in the last twenty years (graph 1).

For the ‘Growth Enabler’ metrics, new data has been released for PISA (education), ‘Democratic Freedom’, ‘Corruption Perception’, ‘Ease of Doing Business’, and Co2 emissions. Macedonia’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking has increased to tenth in the world. Co2 emissions per capita continue to fall. Macedonia’s democratic rating remains unchanged. However, the ‘Corruption Perception Index’ shows that the perception of corruption increased for Macedonia in 2016. The PISA 2015 score shows that Macedonia’s education ranking has decreased relative to its peers since 2000. Albania, Indonesia, and Peru have all overtaken Macedonia in terms of their PISA scores since 2000.

Growth Measures

Macedonia continued its steady economic growth during the fourth quarter of 2016 with increases in real GDP of 2.37 percent (year-ending) and 2.41 percent for the year (table 1). Net exports also improved. Unemployment fell to 23.1 percent in the quarter with an average of 23.7 percent for 2016. This continues the downward trend in unemployment since 2005 (graph 1). Government spending increased by 2.5 percent for the year but fell as a percentage of GDP because of the greater percentage increase in nominal GDP.

Growth Enablers

Education (PISA)

In December, the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) scores for 2015 were released. PISA is a tri-annual OECD assessment of the science, maths, and reading ability of fifteen-year-olds across countries. Macedonia’s PISA score has fallen since the last time it participated (2000). Macedonia is now ranked fifteenth out of the sixteen MK2025 scorecard peer countries that also participated in PISA 2015. In 2000, Macedonia was ranked fifth out of eight among its peers. Since 2000, Albania, Indonesia, and Peru have overtaken Macedonia in terms of their PISA scores.

Macedonia’s mean scores fell in all three areas: mathematics, reading, and science, however, only the reading score is directly comparable to 2000 because of a different performance scale. The top ranked countries were China, Estonia, and Singapore.

Democratic Freedom

Macedonia’s 2016 ‘Democratic Freedom’ rating remains unchanged from 2015. Macedonia’s ranking against its peers remains at twenty-six.

Corruption Perception Index

Macedonia’s global ranking fell from 66 to 90 in the 2016 Corruption Perception Index. Macedonia is now ranked at twenty compared to its scorecard peers, down from its previous ranking of twelve in 2015.

In 2016, Transparency International also released a report entitled, ‘Fighting Corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey’, which included recommendations for improving corruption in Macedonia. These recommendations included strengthening merit-based selection of the judiciary, whistleblowing measures to help reduce political activities in police premises, and the prohibiting of political advertising on public media services.

Ease of doing Business

Macedonia has climbed two places to tenth in the World Bank’s 2016 ‘Ease of Doing Business’ survey. Macedonia continues to lead its peer countries in the ease of doing business.

Environment (Co2 emissions, metric tonnes per capita)

Macedonia’s carbon dioxide emissions per capita continued its downward trend since 2003, with each result since 2007 setting a record low since independence. This trend can also be seen in many of the other peer countries.


Table 1: Macedonia Country Dashboard: Growth Measures


Table 2: Macedonia Country Dashboard: Growth Enablers


Graph 1: Macedonian Unemployment Rate: 1997 to 2016

What is the ‘Macedonia Dashboard’?

The ‘country dashboard’ was introduced in Summit 2015 to help define ‘aspirational and achievable’ targets for Macedonia in 2025. It also provides a way to track progress towards those targets. In other words, it provides an answer to the questions: what do we mean by a ‘stronger country’ and is Macedonia becoming that ‘stronger country’? A further but no less important aim is to provide increased public accountability for key decision makers.  It also serves as tool for Macedonia 2025 to identify opportunities where we can help make Macedonia stronger.

The dashboard’s metrics and peer countries were chosen by Macedonia 2025 in consultation with a diverse group of experts from the Economic Development Boards of Singapore, Turkey, McKinsey & Company and in consultation with the former Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri.

The dashboard consists of 14 economic, financial and social metrics, with each metric having a corresponding goal (see tables 1 and 2 above). The metrics are split into two categories, those that measure economic growth (‘Growth Measures’) and those that measure factors that help enable economic growth (‘Growth Enablers’). Together they provide a more holistic view of Macedonia progress compared to what is provided by more traditional economic measures. The goals for each metric are defined relative to 33 peer countries at similar stages of economic growth.

The author is Brendan Filipovski, Research Manager, MK2025