Economic Cross Section of Everyday Labor Migration
The National Statistical Institute (NSI) publishes data from the population census regarding daily labor migration, which refers to the workplace location of employed individuals as of September 7, 2021. This snapshot of daily labor migration, obtained once every ten years, provides valuable information about economic processes in the country. Around 70% of the employed population in the country works in the same place where they live. However, nearly 500 thousand people work somewhere else, commuting daily to their workplace. They account for over 1/5 of all employed individuals in the country, and their movement gives a clear idea of the economic centers that attract workers. It should be noted that 121 thousand people, or a little over 5% of the employed population, work from home, which is also accounted for in the comprehensive census data.
Daily labor migration is particularly visible in the industry sector. Over half of the employed individuals in the mining industry commute to a different locality for work. This is understandable considering that mines in the country are located in small municipalities, such as in the Srednogorie region and Krumovgrad, where non-ferrous and precious metals are extracted, or in the coal-mining area of Radnevo. It is normal for these mines to attract many workers from neighboring areas. What's interesting in this case is that a large portion of this daily labor migration comes from a relatively close region - for example, around 85-90% of the staff at mining companies in the Srednogorie region come from municipalities in immediate proximity to the mine.
In manufacturing and construction, over 1/3 of workers commute to work outside their place of residence. This is also due to the specific nature of these two sectors, where large industrial facilities are often located on the outskirts of major cities, and construction generally involves labor migration toward large-scale infrastructure projects. The three main economic centers - Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna - are examples of developed industries in peripheral municipalities that attract personnel, including from within the city itself. Regarding the industrial sector, the formation of significant economic centers in the country is evident, as they extend beyond administrative boundaries and shape the economic landscape of the country.
In the services sector, daily labor migration is much lower - less than 20% of workers in sectors such as education, healthcare, culture and sports, and administrative and professional activities commute to work outside their place of residence. Interestingly, in the field of information and communication technologies, less than 10% of employees commute to work outside their home municipality. The digital sector is heavily concentrated in the capital city, Sofia, and in some secondary centers such as Plovdiv and Varna, which suggests more permanent relocation rather than daily commuting to an office. At the same time, the digital sector stands out with the highest proportion of remote workers - over 1/3 of employees in the information and communication technologies sector work from home. In other service sectors such as professional and administrative activities, this percentage is within the range of 10-20%, while in all industrial sectors, it is practically negligible.
The regional breakdown of daily labor migration is also interesting. The highest share of workers commuting to a different locality is observed in Sofia (province) and Pernik. These two regions are closely linked to the capital city, Sofia, which undoubtedly attracts workers from neighboring areas. At the same time, both regions have an industrial character, including contributions from major companies in the Srednogorie region in Sofia Province, which explains the higher percentage of daily labor migration. The positive balance in the capital city is determined by the inflow of daily labor migration, which stands at nearly 58 thousand people. In Pernik, the negative balance due to daily labor migration is around 15 thousand people. In most other regions, the balance is within the range of 3-5 thousand people, with negative balances observed in Pazardzhik, Kyustendil, Vratsa, and Sliven, and positive balances in Plovdiv, Burgas, and Varna. The majority of daily labor migration occurs within the regions themselves. The National Statistical Institute will provide a breakdown by municipalities, including in the new analysis of economic centers in Bulgaria, which can already build upon the data from the latest census.