ZAGREB, Croatia, July 28 (UPI) -- Croatia's unemployment rate fell again in June, dropping to 17.4 percent from 18 percent in May, the Croatian statistical office said Wednesday.
The statistical office also said real, after-tax wages were up 2.5 percent in May and 3.9 percent in the first five months of 2004, in year-on-year terms.
Falling unemployment and rising wages represent good news for Croatia, which hopes to join the European Union in 2007 or 2008 along with Bulgaria and Romania. Economists say progress in economic reform will be a key precondition for Croatia's bid to join the European Union.
The wider economy has shown signs of picking up steam in recent months. Gross domestic product was up 4.2 percent in the first quarter of the year compared with year-on-year growth of 3.3 percent in the last quarter of 2003. -- Copyright 2004 by United Press International. All rights reserved.