Croatia's Job Rate Drops to New Low
Aug. 10, 2006, 5:53AM
ZAGREB, Croatia — Unemployment in Croatia has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, according to statistics released Thursday.
Unemployment, which peaked at 23.3 percent in the former Yugoslav republic in 2002, dropped to 16 percent, or some 270,000 jobless, according to the state bureau of statistics.
Economic analysts attributed the positive data to economic growth spurred by a range of factors, including an increase in direct foreign investment, advanced methods of production, privatization of state property and the government's decreasing role in the economy.
"The state has reduced its role in the economy to under 50 percent," said Ante Zigman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. "It has opened space for private capital which has stimulated jobs in production and trade."
Croatia, which emerged from an independence war in 1991-95, has been undergoing political and economic reform in the hope of winning membership in the European Union and NATO by 2010.