Labour market in Lithuania

Not so long ago, Lithuania had a planned economy till 1990. The country’s industries and agriculture were part of the complex mechanism of the Soviet Union, where enterprises didn‘t have to deal with the problems of goods production or worry about raw materials – everything was supplied centrally. Unemployment didn‘t exist, because as soon as a person gained an educational qualification, he or she was guaranteed to get a job whether or not there was a demand for that particular type of professionals.

After the re-establishment of an independent Lithuanian Republic, the situation of labour market changed dramatically. The transition from planned to market economy began and privatisation took place.
Legalisation of private property created new forms of business organisation: individual enterprises, partnership enterprises, joint-stock companies, investment joint-stock companies. All these changes resulted in the formation of a labour market which was absent in the Soviet period because of the peculiarities of the socialist system of job distribution. Labour supply was inconsistent with labour demand.

The structure of Lithuanian labour market could be described as follows:

  • People who are officially registered as unemployed and receive unemployment benefits;
  • Unofficial unemployment (a short work time, compulsory holidays, never registered in labour exchange.);
  • Unofficial labour market. Black labour market;
  • Firms which do not pay taxes and social insurance
    Officially employed.

In Lithuania from 2008 till now the minimum monthly wage is 800 litas. For example from 1999 till 2002 was 430 litas.

Average number of employees in 2011 was 1081 247. In Lithuania there are 3 244 509 people.

Males and females

Annual data on labour force, employment and   unemployment

Total by age




Labour force activity rate, %




Unemployed, thousand




Labour force, thousand

1 640.9

1 634.8

1 619.7

Unemployment rate, %





1 415.9

1 343.7

1 370.9

Employment rate, %




As we see in this table, that situation in Lithuania’s labour market is getting better.



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