Revival of Regional Economy: 600 New Jobs to Be Created in Kočevje in the Next Two Years
Comment. Diagram 1. The largest employers of Kočevje (number of employees according to data for 2017). Diagram 2. The unemployment rate in the municipality and in the country as a whole (official data for April 2018). To the right: current vacancies according to employers’ polls: workers of manufacturing industry (16 vacancies), sellers (10 vacancies), waiters (9 vacancies), mechanics and equipment maintenance experts (9 vacancies). Below is the number of applications submitted by unemployed persons to the register of the Employment Service: workers of manufacturing industry (234 applications); cleaners, waiters, general service employees (109 applications); sellers (99 applications). Bottom row: companies that currently perform or will perform construction works in Kočevje, investments (in millions of euros): Yaskawa (50), Gozdarstvo Grča (8), Rotis (5), Koles (5), Intersocks (4), DB Schenker (3), Žaga Pogorelc (3); statistics on the average salary in the country, the region and the municipality; in large print (bottom right): number of the municipality residents and number of unemployed persons registered with the municipal labour office as of June 2018.
With the arrival of the Japanese corporation Yaskawa, which currently builds two plants in Kočevje (each worth 25 million euros), it becomes clear that the region’s economy is taking a second wind. The construction of the first plant proceeds at a rapid pace. The company already hires new employees and organizes training in Japan. The most demanded is the engineering staff. This was stated by the Head of the subsidiary company Yaskawa Slovenija, Hubert Kosler.
According to the Mayor of Kočevje, Vladimir Prebilič, the municipality is building and expanding the Lik industrial zone, which will open 600 new jobs within 1–2 years. Investors and construction operators are such companies as Yaskawa, Gozdarstvo Grča, Koles, Rotis, Intersocks, DB Schenker and Žaga Pogorelc. Local authorities are trying to make the municipality attractive to domestic and foreign investors, using the principles of sustainable development. Prebilič stressed that they are also working on the development of local tourism, culture and other spheres, striving to make Kočevje comfortable for both local residents and visitors.
In the municipality of Kočevje with almost 16,000 residents, the working-age population is 5,900 persons, of which 2,321 are officially employed. Salaries in Kočevje are traditionally lower as compared to the average salary in both Slovenia (last year it stood at 1,536 EUR gross), and the south-eastern region, to which Kočevje belongs (in 2017, the average salary in the municipality of Kočevje amounted to 1,363 EUR gross).
At the same time, last year, 265 commercial companies and 296 individual entrepreneurs produced 311.93 million euros of sales revenue, of which 125.72 million euros were made on foreign markets, which accounts for 40.3% of total sales volume. For example, the Melamine chemical plant, the largest municipal enterprise according to revenues with 190 employees, received 50 million euros in sales revenue in 2017 and reached a profit of 2.4 million euros. Melamin exports about 90% of its products.