Labour and Welfare Minister Jagoda Sahpaska blamed the returning diaspora emigrants for the spike in the unemployment rate in Macedonia, where more than 40,000 newly unemployed people were registered since the start of the coronavirus epidemic.

Sahpaska insisted that only 16,000 of htose are actual job losses in Macedonia, while for the other jobless applications she blamed Macedonian citizens who live and work abroad, but had to return to the ountry afer the epidemic started.

Our data indicates that 15,858 citizens lost their jobs. Out of them, 7,000 were employed for a set period of time, 2,000 contractually rescinded their contracts and a very small portion lost their jobs because companies closed down altogether, Sahpaska said.

To account for the major difference to the 40,000 new jobless claims, she said that it was beefed up by Macedonians who lost their jobs in the economic downturn over Europe and are now back home claiming healthcare and unemployment benefits.