The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Monday continued to present opposite figures on unemployment and employment -- the SDP claims that employment is going up and unemployment is decreasing, accusing the HDZ of "creative statistics", the HDZ claims that 33,000 jobs were lost in the past two months.

"Croatia is opening 500 jobs each week and that cannot be disputed, despite the HDZ's creative statistics. Karamarko's bureau of statistics each day creates new things and one day they care about employment, another day about unemployment, Let them finally decide what they want to comment on. Clearly, it is important for Karamarko's statistical bureau that the news be negative, and that positive things be avoided or disguised." Labour and Pension Insurance Minister Mirando Mrsic told a news conference in the SDP headquarters.

Although he admits that unemployment has gone up in September and October, Mrsic said this was an usual occurrence after the tourist season. "The important thing is that we have the lowest unemployment rate in the past six years. On the other hand, we are opening 500 new jobs a week and you can see than in the number of the employed persons registered in the Pension Insurance Bureau and according to the latest figures the number of the employed is one percent higher than last year," Mrsic said.

He stressed that 84,000 new jobs were created for young people and that in the first nine months of this year more people found jobs than in the entire 2011. Mrsic stressed that this was yet another trend that Karamarko's bureau of statistics was trying to dispute with the help of some banks which are clearly taking a revenge against the government for the conversion of the Swiss franc-pegged loans.

He declined to comment on President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic's criticism of the government and its 'unambitious growth plan', saying that he was not familiar with that statement.

Asked why Croatia had one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU, Mrsic said Croatia had started with a very high unemployment rate. "In those four years, the HDZ was losing 800 jobs a week, 166,000 jobs were lost and you can see that in Croatia's employment. In 2012 it stood at 57.2% and in these two years we increased it to 59.2%. Our plan is to raise it by seven points by 2020, namely to 66.2%. Croatia in 2020 should have between 1.7 and 1.8 million people with jobs," Mrsic said.

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