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Labour Force in the Republic of Moldova: Employment and unemployment in the 2nd quarter of 2020
03.09.2020
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Labour Force in the Republic of Moldova: Employment and unemployment in the 2nd quarter of 2020

Labour force participation

According to the results of the Labour Force Survey (LFS)1, in the second quarter of 2020, the labour force (active population) of the Republic of Moldova, which includes the employed and unemployed population, was 857,7 thousand persons2, decreasing by 9,0% in comparison to the second quarter of 2019 (943,0 thousand).

Within the labour force, the share of men (52,6%) was higher in comparison to that of women (47,4%) and the share of economically active persons from the rural area was higher than the share of urban area (55,4% and 44,6% accordingly).

The labour force participation rate of the population aged 15 and over (the proportion of the labour force aged 15 and over in the total population of the same age category) was 39,9% (in the second quarter 2019 – 43,4%). This indicator reached higher values among the male population – 44,8%, in comparison with the female one – 35,6%. In areas these rates recorded the following values: 45,1% in urban area and 36,5% in rural area.

In the age group of 15-29 years this indicator had the value of 34,0%, and in the category of 15-643 years – 47,1%. The value of this indicator for the population of working age according to the national legislation (16-58 years for women and 16-63 years for men) was 50,4%.

Employment

The employed population was 21,5 thousand persons, lower by 8,8% in comparison to the second quarter of 2019 (901,1 thousand). As in the case of the economically active population, the share of men is higher than that of women (52,2% men and 47,8% women), and the share of employed persons from the rural area was higher than that of employed persons from the urban area (56,0% in rural area and 44,0% in urban area, accordingly).

The employment rate of the population aged 15 years and over (the proportion of employed persons aged 15 and over compared with the total population of the same age group) was 38,2%, decreased in comparison to the level of the previous year (41,4% in 2019) (Figure 1). The employment rate of men (42,6%) was higher in comparison to that of women (34,3%). In the distribution by residence areas this indicator had the value of 42,6% in urban area and 35,3% in rural area. The employment rate of the population of working age (16-58 years for women and 16-63 years for men) was 48,1%, of the population aged 15-64 years – 45,0%, and in the age category 15-29 years this indicator recorded the value of 31,7%.

The analysis of employment rates by age groups reveals the greatest gender discrepancies in persons aged 25-34 years (for men the employment rate with 15,8 p. p. higher than for women) and by residence areas (15,1 p. p. higher for persons employed from urban area) (Figure 2).

From the distribution of persons employed by economic activities it resulted that in the agricultural sector 188,1 thousand persons or 22,9%, out of the total employed persons, have worked (in 2019 - 197,3 thousand and 21,9% respectively).

In the non-agricultural activities there were employed 633,5 thousand persons, decreasing by 10,0% in comparison to the 2nd quarter of 2019 (703,8 thousand). The share of persons employed in industry was 14,7% (in 2019 – 14,5%), including in the manufacturing 11,6% (SDG indicator 9.2.2en-sdg-goal-09.png, and in constructions 7,0% (in 2019 – 7,1%). The number of persons employed in industry (120,4 thousand) decreased in comparison to the level of the respective quarter of last year (by 7,8%), and in constructions it amounted to 57,9 thousand, decreasing by 9,8% in comparison to 2019. In the services sector 455,1 thousand persons have worked, or 55,4% out of the total of employed persons, decreasing by 10,6% in comparison to the 2nd quarter of 2019 (in 2019 – 509,0 thousand) (Figure 3).

In the distribution by form of ownership, 69,6% of the employed population worked in the private sector and 30,4% - in the public sector.

The structure of the employed population according to the status in employment reveals that the share of employees was 76,4% out of the total (627,4 thousand persons). The great majority of employees (89,8%) were employed for an unlimited duration. 

The undeclared work4 among employees was 6,4%, it dropped in comparison to the level of the previous year (8,3% in the 2nd quarter of 2019). The practice of employment without the concluding of the individual working contracts (based on verbal agreements) is more frequent among male employees (8,7%) than female employees (4,2%). The highest proportions of employees, who work based on verbal agreements only, were estimated in agriculture (58,0%), constructions (12,0%), trade (9,9%) and industry (8,4%).

In the informal sector 17,6% worked out of the total of persons employed in the economy (in 2019 – 17,4%), and 23,3% had an informal job (in 2019 – 24,2%). Out of the number of informally employed persons the percentage of employees were 22,2%. In the non-agricultural sector, the share of informal employment was 10,4% (SDG indicator 8.3.1en-sdg-goal-08.png
 
Out of the total of employees, 6,8% had an informal job. The salary "in envelope" was received by 6,5% employees, and the highest shares were estimated for the activities from agriculture (60,3%), constructions (11,5%), trade (9,1%) and industry (8,8%).

The number of underemployed persons5 (persons who had a job, whose number of hours actually worked, in total, during the reference period, was less than 40 hours per week, who wanted and were available to work overtime) was 64,3 thousand, which represented 7,8% out of the total of employed persons, being 2 times higher than the level of the previous year (3,9% in the 2nd quarter of 2019).

Of the total employed persons, 7,9% stated that he/she wished to change the situation in relation to its current job for the reason the level of remuneration is not satisfactory (income-related inadequate employment situation).

Unemployment

The number of unemployed persons, estimated according to the definition of the International Labour Organization (ILO)5 was 36,2 thousand, decreased in comparison to the level of the 2nd quarter of 2019 (42,0 thousand). The unemployment has affected more men – 60,4% out of the total of unemployed and persons from the urban area -58,2%6.

The unemployment rate (the share of ILO unemployed in the labour force) at the level of country recorded a value of 4,2%, lower than in the 2nd quarter of 2019 (5,5%) (SDG indicator 8.5.2en-sdg-goal-08.png. The unemployment rate for men was 4,9%, and -3,5% for women; in urban area – 5,5% and respectively, 3,2% in rural area. Among persons aged 15-24, the unemployment rate was 12,6%, and in the age group of 15-29 years this indicator had the value of 5,6%.

The unemployment rate is one of the 4 indicators of labour underutilization 5 implemented in statistical practice according to the ILO standard. Thus, in addition to LU1 – the unemployment rate,  other three indicators that measure the discrepancies between the labour supply and labour demand (or underutilization) are: LU2 - the combined rate of time-related underemployment and unemployment; LU3 – the combined rate of unemployment and potential labour force; LU4 - the composite measure of labour underutilization. The quarterly evolution of labour force underutilization indicators, calculated for the Republic of Moldova, is provided in Figure 4.

The population outside the labour force

The population outside the labour force of 15 years and over, in the 2nd quarter of 2020, was 1293,2 thousand persons or 60,1% out of the total population of the same age category, increasing by 4,9% in comparison to the 2nd quarter of 2019 (1232,2 thousand and respectively, 56,6%). Within the inactive population, the largest share, over 45,0%, belongs to the category of pensioners. They are followed by the group of pupils and students (13,3%) and the group of family caring persons (housewives) (13,2%). Among other inactive persons there are those who do not work and do not seek for a job in Moldova, because they already have a job (permanent or seasonal) abroad, or who plan to work abroad (12,6%, compared to 11% in the 2nd quarter of 2019). Another group is formed by the persons (declared by households) as having gone abroad to work or looking for a job for a period of less than one year (6,3% or 82,0 thousand), the number of the latter decreased by 24,7% in comparison to the 2nd quarter of 2019 (respectively 108,9 thousand). The rest consists of other categories of population outside the labour force. The persons who have a job abroad or intend to go abroad and persons who are left abroad to work or looking for a job prevails among men (21,4% and 10,7% respectively for men in comparison to 5,9% and 3,0% respectively for women), and the family care activities are more characteristic for women (22,0% in comparison to 1,4% for men) (Figure 5).

In the 2nd quarter of 2020, the share of NEET youth7 was 18,9% out of the total number of young persons aged 15-24 years, 27,6 % - among youth of 15-29 years and 32,6% among those of 15-34 years (SDG indicator 8.6.1en-sdg-goal-08.png. In all these age groups, the indicator shows higher values among women in comparison to men (Figure 6).

Impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the labour market situation

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market appeared at the end of the first quarter of 2020, with the establishment of a state of emergency in the country (starting with March 17). COVID-19 continued to affect the labour market throughout the 2nd quarter of 2020, with the state of emergency being replaced by the state of emergency in public health (since 16 May). Thus, the results of the LFS for the 2nd quarter outlined the new situations on the labour market due to this pandemic.

Main findings

In the 2nd quarter of 2020, every tenth person aged 15 and over, or over 217,0 thousand, said that the epidemiological situation in the country had a direct impact on their relationship with the labour market. Of these, the absolute majority, over 92 percent, are employed and 7% - people who have become inactive on the labour market due to the pandemic.

The number of employed persons who stated that their situation at work was affected due to COVID-19 constituted 200,6 thousand or 24,4% of the total employed population (compared to 33,2 thousand or 4,1% of total employed population in the first quarter of 2020). COVID-19 affected the female population to a greater extent – 30,9%, compared to the male population – 18,5% (compared to 4,6% for women and 3,7% for men in the first quarter of 2020) and, respectively, the urban population – 33,3%, compared to the rural one – 17,4%.

In the structure by sex, the share of women is 60,5% of the total people affected at work and that of men 39,5% (women – 53,7% and men – 46,3% in the first quarter of 2020) (while, in total employment, women make up 47,8% and men 52,2%). In the distribution by residence areas, this indicator had the value of 60,0% in urban areas and 40,0% in rural areas (50,5% and 49,5%, respectively, in the previous quarter). In the distribution by age groups, the largest share belongs to people aged 35-44 years (27,5%), followed by young adults aged 25-34 years (24,1%) and those aged 45-54 years ( 23,3%) (Table 1) (compared to 36,3% for 25-34 years, 24,6% - 35-44 years, 19,5% - 45-54 years in the first quarter of 2020).

Table 1. Number of employed persons affected by Covid-19 at work by sex,
area and age groups, 2nd quarter 2020, thousand persons

 

Total

Age groups

15-24 years

25-34 years

35-44 years

45-54 years

55-64 years

65 years and over

Total

200,6

10,7

48,4

55,1

46,8

33,0

6,7

  Men

79,2

6,8

19,7

20,8

15,2

13,4

3,3

  Women

121,4

3,9

28,6

34,3

31,5

19,6

3,4

  Urban

120,3

8,8

28,7

31,3

28,5

17,8

5,2

  Rural

80,3

0,0

19,6

23,8

18,3

15,2

0,0

The impact of the pandemic on the situation at work was manifested mainly by: interruption / cessation of activity, worked at home/worked remotely, transfer to a part-time work programme, reduction of hours actually worked, etc. (Table 2).

Table 2. Number of employed persons affected by Covid-19 at work by sex,
area and situations caused, 2nd quarter 2020, thousand persons

 

Total

din care:

Interrupted / stopped activity

Work performed at home / remotely work

Fewer hours worked

Under-employment

Part time

Total

200,6

121,7

51,3

60,9

33,1

13,6

  Men

79,2

54,9

11,2

16,4

18,1

6,3

  Women

121,4

66,8

40,1

44,5

15,0

7,3

  Urban

120,3

73,8

31,1

33,6

24,0

7,8

  Rural

80,3

47,9

20,2

27,3

9,1

5,8

Among the employed people affected by the pandemic, the majority (60,7%) is made up of people who did not work at all / were absent from work; every fourth person (25,6%) worked from home / worked remotely; about a third (30,4%) worked fewer hours per week, another about 7% were transferred to part-time work (Figure 7).

Temporary interruption of activity

The number of persons who had a job, but who did not work at all in the 2nd quarter of 2020, amounted to 163 thousand, increasing 8 times compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019. Their share in total employment also increased, respectively, from 2,5 in the 2nd quarter of 2019 to 4,9% in the 1st quarter of 2020 and to 20% in the 2nd quarter of 2020. The increase in the number of these persons was largely caused (74,6%) by the restrictions imposed in relation to COVID-19 - this reason was invoked by 121,7 thousand persons. The main reasons for temporary absence from work are the following: unpaid leave, cessation of activity of the unit, technical unemployment, annual leave, etc. (Figure 8).

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019, the number of persons on annual leave increased 4 times, and those on unpaid leave and technically unemployed increased by 90 percent.

In the distribution by sex, men account for 45,1% of the total number of people who had a job but did not work due to the pandemic and women, respectively, 54,9% (compared to 53,2% and, 46,8% in the 1st quarter of 2020). In the distribution by areas of residence, urban localities form 60,6% and rural ones, respectively, 39,4% (Table 3) (compared to 48,2% and 51,8%, respectively, in the previous quarter).

Table 3. Distribution of employed persons who did not work because of Covid-19 by main reasons,
 by sex and area, 2nd quarter 2020, thousand persons

 

Total

Unpaid leave

Stationary / cessation of activity

Technical un-employment

Annual leave

Flexible / variable schedule

Sick leave

Total

121,7

38,2

26,7

24,7

20,7

9,6

1,8

  Men

54,9

16,6

14,8

14,2

5,5

2,7

0,0

  Women

66,8

21,6

11,9

10,5

15,2

6,9

0,0

  Urban

73,8

23,2

17,1

17,1

8,7

6,4

0,0

  Rural

47,9

15,0

9,6

7,6

12,0

3,2

0,0

Depending of age, the majority (30,0%) is made up of the group of persons aged 35-44, followed by the group of persons aged 45-54 and 25-34 (22,2% and 21,4%, respectively).

Among the people who did not work due to the pandemic, the absolute majority of 85% belongs to employees (in total employment they make up 76,4%). The remaining 15% is made up of the group of self-employed workers, who had to stop working (compared to 88% of employees and 12% of self-employed workers in the 1st quarter of 2020).

From the distribution of absences from work, according to the economic activities, it resulted that higher shares were recorded in trade (18,2%), industry (16,7%), education (14,8%), accommodation and food service activities (8,5%), constructions (8,1%) (compared to 1st quarter of 2020 – trade – 27,3%, industry – 24,8%, education – 15,4%). Among men prevailed the activities of trade (19,9%), construction (16,2%) and manufacturing (15,6%). Among women, many absences were recorded in education (24,2%), trade (16,7%) and in accommodation and food service activities (9,0%). 

At the same time, according to the types of absence, in the manufacturing prevailed the unpaid leave 39,2% (43,6% for women) and the technical unemployment – 37,8% (38,4% for men); in the trade  prevailed the cessation of the activity – 31,3% (33,3% for men) and, respectively, unpaid leave, 29,4% (37,6% for women); in construction prevailed cessation of activity – 49,7% (55,3% for men); in accommodation and food service activities prevailed unpaid leaves – 46,4% (64,1% for men ); in education – annual leaves with a share of 51,3% (52,4% in women).

Working from home

The number of persons who worked from home in the 2nd quarter of 2020 was 55,6 thousand persons (compared to 16,6 thousand in the 1st quarter of 2020), considerable increase (more than 10 times) compared to the 2nd quarter of 2019 (4,7 thousand). The absolute majority of the increase (51,3 thousand or 92,3%) was due to the effects of restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Among them, every third person (31,8%) stated that the number of hours worked at home per week was 40 hours or more, and in two out of three persons the number of hours worked at home per week was less of 40 hours (66,4%).

In the distribution by sex of persons working remotely, 78,1% are women and 21,9% are men (compared to 75,2%, and, respectively, 24,8% in the 1st quarter of 2020), and by areas of residence this indicator had the value of 60,7% in urban areas and 39,3% in rural areas (51,4% and 48,6%, respectively, in the 1st quarter of 2020).

Depending on the age, every third person is between 25-34 years old, and every fourth person is part of either the 35-44 age group or the 45-54 age group.

In the distribution of these persons according to economic activities, the majority, 66,7%, is formed by education workers, followed by public administration and defence workers; compulsory social insurance by 5,4% and trade by 5,2% (compared to 54,7% - education, 18,1% - professional, scientific and technical activities, 12.0% - trade in the 1st quarter of 2020).

Working hours

COVID - 19 also changed the usual patterns in relation to the actual length of the working week. Thus, among those who stated that their situation at work was affected by the pandemic, 90,1% worked less than 40 hours a week or did not work at all (compared to 86,1% in the 1st quarter of 2020). While among the persons who did not suffer from the epidemiological situation this indicator is 3 times lower, constituting 29,8%, being at the level of the previous year (in the 2nd quarter of 2019 – 29,8%, compared to 32,4% in the 1st quarter of 2020).

The persons who worked fewer hours a week because of the pandemic invoked the same reasons as the persons who did not work at all: technical unemployment and cessation of the activity of the unit.

From the analysis by sex it resulted that the share of men who worked fewer hours or did not work at all was 89,7% in the total of men affected by the pandemic at work, and 90,4% of women (90,1% and 82,7% respectively in the 1st quarter of 2020).

In the case of reduced working hours, according to age, the most affected are the persons of 45-54 years old with a share of 26,9%, persons of 25-34 years old – 26,2% and persons of 35-44 years old with a share of 22,6% (persons aged 35-44 – 29,0% and 45-54 years – 25,7% in the 1st  quarter of 2020).

Among the persons who worked fewer hours, the main share belongs to the persons from the education area (61,1%), manufacturing (10,1%) and trade (7,9%) (compared to the 1st quarter of 2020 – 43,7% in education, 15,9% in trade and 14,0% in manufacturing).

Out of the total number of 64,3 thousand underemployed persons in the 2nd quarter of 2020, every second person, or 33,1 thousand, stated that this situation is entirely due to the pandemic.

Part-time work

The number of persons who worked part-time in the 2nd quarter of 2020 was 44,8 thousand or 5,5% out of total employment (51,1 thousand and 6,3%, respectively, in the 1st quarter of 2020). Among them, every third person (compared to 5,2 percent in the previous quarter) stated that they switched to partial working schedule because of the pandemic, the main reasons were the lack of customers or orders and the transfer from the employer's initiative to such a working schedule. 

Among the persons who switched to the partial working schedule, because of the pandemic, there were recorded discrepancies by sex and areas. Thus, the share of men in the total of such persons was 46,4% and respectively, 53,6% of women (41% and 59% respectively in the 1st quarter of 2020); the urban area recorded 57,2% and the rural area, 42,8% respectively (35,6% and 64,4%, respectively, in the 1st quarter of 2020).

Depending on age, persons working part-time due to pandemic are part of the 25-34 age groups (27,2%), 55-64 years (27,1%) and 35-44 years (15,7%) (compared to 39,8% for the age group - 25-34 years and 30,9% - 35-44 years in the 1st quarter of 2020).

 

Notes:

1 Selective statistical survey on households of the population. The methodology is available on the website www.statistica.gov.md in the section: Metadata / Statistical methodologies / Methodology on the household labour force survey.
2 The data is presented without the territory from the left side of Dniester and Bender mun. 
3 The working age in European Union countries according to Eurostat methodology. 
4 Undeclared work - undeclared work means any work performed by an individual for and under the authority of an employer without respecting the provisions of the Labour Code regarding the working contract. 
5 Details: Labour Force Survey Methodology. Concepts and definitions.
6 The number of unemployed persons officially registered at the National Employment Agency on April 1, 2020 was 18,1 thousand persons. 
7 NEET - young persons who are not in employment education/or training in the formal education system and do not participate in any way at courses or other trainings outside the formal education system (from English language Persons Not in Employment, Education or Training).

 

Relevant information:

 

Comunicat_ODD_en.pngen-sdg-goal-08.pngen-sdg-goal-09.png

Contact person:
Vatcarau Elena 
head of the employment statistics divisions 
tel 067 770 017

 
 
 
 
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