At least 32,000 people have been laid off in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, and employers have said that thousands more who still have jobs will meet the same fate, local media reported on Monday.
According to collective data from the country's statistical office, in the Federation entity, more than 23,000 workers were laid off by July 20 while in the Republika Srpska entity slightly more than 9,000 were fired.
These data, however, reveal just a part of the problem because employers in the country do not report a large number of their workers and do not pay contributions for them so it is believed that most of those who have been fired are such workers.
The services and art and entertainment sectors have been hit the hardest by the epidemic but it has also negatively impacted almost all the other economic branches and social activities.
The World Bank has forecast that consumption in the country will fall by between 3.5 and 6.7 percent due to the epidemic and that between 35,000 and 85,000 people could become poor.
Up to 60 percent of them will not be covered by any state aid scheme because their employers have not reported them, which is why they do not meet conditions for any compensation or aid.
Before the pandemic, poverty among workers in the sectors hit worst by the crisis was around 9 percent and now it could rise to 11-15 percent, the World Bank estimates.