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Political and economic situation


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.4Political and economic situation

Last update: 25 March 2023

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia collects and analyses the data on GDP and other economic parameters. GDP is calculated based on the production and expenditure approach, in current and constant prices. 

After 2000’s political changes, the GDP and GDP per capita grew. A slowdown in the growth occured in 2008, when the global economic crisis affected Serbia. Since then, there has been a crisis in investment and export which has caused problems in economic growth. After 2015, the GDP per capita was in a slight increase. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2017, real growth of GDP was 2.5%.

When it comes to quarterly estimation of real growth of GDP in the Republic of Serbia, for example, it was 2.5% (in the first quarter of 2019) and 4.9% (in the third quarter of 2019), then 5.2% (in the first quarter of 2020) and -1.4% (in the third quarter of 2020) (Source: The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, 2020).

Observed by the sectors, in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the same quarter of the previous year, significant real growth in the gross value added was recorded in the sectors:

  1. construction: 12.3%;

  2. the section of wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; transportation, storage and accommodation and food service activities: 5.8% and

  3. the section of information and communication: 4.9%

In the first quarter of 2019, compared to the same period of the previous year, real growth was recorded in the following aspects: final consumption expenditure of households (3.2%), final consumption expenditure of non-profit institutions providing household services (2.3%), general government final consumption expenditure (2.5%), gross fixed capital formation (8.4%), export of goods and services (9.3%) and import of goods and services (9.4%) (Source: The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, 2019).

When it comes to aspects of export and import in 2020, Serbia exported its products to European Union (64.9%) and to other european countries (26.2%). Observed by countries, Serbia exported products to Germany (12.9%), Italy (8.4%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (7.1%), Romania (6.5%) and other countries (less than 5%). The most important partners from whom the goods are imported are Germany (13.6%), China (12.5%), Italy (8.4%), Russia (6%) and Hungary (5%). In general, Serbia imported 58.8% products from European Union and 17.6% from other european countries in 2020. (Source: The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, 2020)

According to the Survey of Labour Force (The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, 2020), the number of active persons (labour force, composed of employed and unemployed persons) was estimated to 3 236 900 in 2019, being a decrease of 0.3% relative to 2018. The number of employed persons in 2019 was estimated to 2.901.000, which is higher by 2.4% relative to 2018. The employment rate in 2019 in male population was 56.6% and in female population 41. 9%. The registered number of employees in the Republic of Serbia in legal entities and unincorporated enterprises, within definite or fixed-term employment contract and in temporary or occasional employment, as well as persons individually running business or being founders of enterprises or entrepreneurs' shops was 2 101 267 in 2019. The number of inactive persons in 2019 was 2 687 000, which is decrease by 0.8% than in 2018. The rate of inactive women (52.9%) was significantly greater than of inactive men (37.3%). In the third quarter of 2020, the employment rate was 49.9% and the unemployment rate was 9%. Average salary per employee in the Republic of Serbia, in 2019, compared with 2018, registered a nominal increase of 10.5% and real increase of 8.4%.