About the ILO in North Macedonia

The Covid-19 crisis hit North Macedonia after a year of exceptional job growth

The Covid-19 crisis hit North Macedonia after a year of exceptional job growth, with almost 40,000 jobs added to the economy in 2019 (bringing total employment to almost 800,000). According to the ILO “nowcasting” model, which tracks declines in working hours resulting from both lay-offs and other temporary reductions in working time, working hours in North Macedonia declined by an estimated 10.6 per cent during Q3 of 2020, equivalent to 90,000 jobs.

According to the enterprise survey conducted by the employers’ organizations of the country, in collaboration with the ILO and the EBRD, the pandemic has severely affected 82 per cent of enterprises. 40,000 jobs are at immediate risk.

The COVID 19 crisis has further exposed the labour market challenges that existed before the pandemic. Low labour market participation, in particular among women, low job creation, inadequate earnings and unproductive work remain the main issues  of  the Macedonian labour market.

With permanent presence in the country since 2009, and assistance through the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), the ILO supports the country in overcoming the challenges.  The current DWCP 2019-2022 focuses on two priorities: 1) improved labour market governance through enhanced social dialogue; and 2) more and better jobs for inclusive growth and improved youth employment prospects.

In 2020, ILO was the first organization to develop a Rapid Assessment of the Employment Impacts and Policy Responses on COVID-19, providing solid evidence on the economic and social impact of the pandemic.  Furthermore, in the period 2020- 2021, the ILO provided technical assistance in:
  • supporting the Economic and Social Council in developing its position on the crisis response measures;
  • drafting the new Labour Relations Law;
  • drafting the new National Employment Strategy;
  • developing of the Labour market and poverty indicators forecasting model and projections for IPA III;
  • Piloting the first ever Local Employment Partnership in the country;
  • developing of  the Macedonian Occupational Outlook;
  • promoting  Workers’ Rights;
  • supporting the introduction of new and modernization of the existing services provided by the social partners;
  • revitalizing Local Economic and Social Councils.
North Macedonia ratified 79 ILO Conventions (75 in force), including the eight fundamental Conventions. The ILO Committee of Experts has a number of requests concerning application of ratified conventions.

Text last updated 5/21.