The labour market navigated the pandemic well, but headwinds may hamper further improvements
The transition of Poland in the last three decades is considered a development success story. The country moved from middle to high income status in less than 15 years, entering the group of high-income countries in the mid-2000s. The economy expanded rapidly with growth rates of 4 to 5% per year, job and income growth were broad-based, and prosperity was shared. While in the early 1990s, per capita income was 38% of the EU average, it now reaches 76%.
Labour markets benefited from these developments and experienced an impressive turnaround. While unemployment was still at 20% in 2000, the country has currently one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe at 3%, while the employment rate is slightly higher than the EU average (74% vs 72%). The Covid-19 pandemic caused a relatively mild economic recession in 2020 with a reduction of GDP of less than 3% (EU: -6%). Meanwhile, the recovery in 2021 was strong and Poland is expected to lead all EU countries in GDP growth in the period 2020-23. The short-term impact on labour markets was also relatively low with 2% of all working hours lost when compared to 2019 (EU: 7.4%), and a recovery in 2021 already beyond 2019 levels. Continue reading
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