Bulgaria’s Q1 jobs and salaries data show impact of Covid-19

The number of people with employment contracts in Bulgaria decreased by 47 187 from the end of February to the end of March 2020, according to preliminary first-quarter data announced by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) on May 14.

Notable decreases included the number of people on employment contracts in the accommodation and food sector, a drop of 20 700 from February to the end of March.

Bulgaria’s Parliament voted a State of Emergency on March 13 to counter the spread of Covid-19. Measures included the closure of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other places of entertainment, as well as a ban on organised domestic tourist excursions and a ban on the entry of foreigners to Bulgaria.

The NSI said that, comparing the end of March with the end of December 2019, the largest decrease in the number of employees on labour contracts was in the accommodation and food service activities category, at 19.8 per cent.

Comparing March 2020 with March 2019, the decrease in the accommodation and food service sector was 22.8 per cent.

However, the highest increase between December 2019 and March 2020 was in the number of people employed in IT – 5.5 per cent.

The IT sector also saw the highest increase in employees on labour contracts when comparing March 2020 with March 2019, an increase of nine per cent.

Notably, from February 2020 to March, the number of employees in the human health and social work sector went up by 423 to 150 424, according to the NSI’s figures.

The institute said comparing the first quarter of 2020 with the fourth quarter of 2019, the highest increase in salaries was in the real estate sector, by 12.1 per cent, followed by IT, 4.7 per cent.

In March 2020, the average salary in the IT sector was 3236 leva a month, followed by the finance and insurance sector at 2031 leva a month and the “electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply” category at 2031 leva a month.

The accommodation and food sector had the lowest salaries in Q1 2020, at 737 leva a month, the NSI said.

(Archive photo: Interior Ministry press centre)

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