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Social Surveys Detect more Unemployed than Official Statistics in Georgia

Over the past years unemployment remains a major challenge in Georgia. According to social surveys, unemployment problem has long surpassed such important issues as territorial integrity or a hike in prices.

According to the 2015 official indicators, unemployment index in Georgia is 12%, however, social surveys show that more than a half part of respondents consider themselves unemployed. According to public inquiry by National Democratic Institute (NDI), 63% of population consider themselves jobless, 37% – employed. In the April survey, number of respondents, who consider themselves employed, has increased compared to the previous survey. According to the inquiry conducted in November-December 2016, 34% of respondents considered themselves as employed.

37% of the respondents, who consider themselves unemployed, are jobless and seek job places, 24% are pensioners and are not interested in employment opportunities, 13% are housewives, 7% are jobless and do not seek job, 5% are students.

Public opinion research field works were carried out from April 7 to April 28 and a total of 2493 respondents were inquired. Average error margin of the survey is+/- 2.7%.

It is worth noting that starting 2009 the official unemployment indicator shrinks on annual basis.

 According to the 2015 information by Geostat, national statistics service of Georgia, there are 246 000 unemployed persons in Georgia, while 1 780 thousand persons are employed, including 1 018 000 (57%) are self-employed (agriculture sector, retail trade and so on).

A major part of the employed do not consider themselves as employed. This category notes in sociological surveys that they are unemployed. Under international practice for determining unemployment level,  if a person receives financial benefits over the past 7 days, he/she is considered to be an employee.

«Employed (hired or self-employed) – bodies of 15 years old and over, who have worked for 7 days before the survey day (for even an hour) for the purpose of receiving revenues (salaries, profits and so on), assisted  members of other households free of charge or were absent at office for certain reasons, but was formally registered as an employed», an extract from Geostat methodology for determining workforce.

The point is that 1 780 thousand persons are recorded as employed and 246 000 persons – as unemployed. A total of 753 000 persons are hired and consequently, they do not consider themselves as unemployed. About 275 000 persons from the mentioned category work in public sector. In reality, not only 246 000 persons seek job, but also a major part of self-employed, who try to receive revenues through various ways prior to finding desirable job. Consequently, when new job places appear in Georgia, this does not signify that officially-reported unemployed will occupy them. Theoretically, new job places may be occupied by the self-employed and, therefore, the number of jobless citizens will not decline.

Georgian economy account for about 14 billion USD. Annual incomes per capita makes up about 3.8 thousand USD, while in the developed countries the annual incomes per capita starts from 12 000 USD.

Today there is not sufficient number of job places in Georgia as compared to the existing demand. Therefore, in longterm or short-term periods, only way for unemployment reduction is to boost Georgian economy and create new job places.

According to Geostat, in the fourth quarter of 2016 number of persons employed in business sector marked 621 000, up 6.2% as compared to the same period of 2015. To be precise, number of employees in private sector constituted 620 800 persons, up 6.2% year on year. In total number of employees the ratio of women is 40.7%. Ratio of major business in total number of employees is 61.3%, medium business – 16.6% and small business – 22.1%.

Total number of the employed marked 584 900 persons, up 3.7% year on year. Total expenditures taken by enterprises on staff amounted to 1997.6 million GEL, up 12.2% year on year. In the fourth quarter of 2016, monthly salaries in business sector totaled 1130.4 GEL, up 85.8 GEL year on year, including women salaries made up 819 GEL, up 66.1 GEL year on year.

Averaged monthly salary due to the size of enterprises is as follows: major business – 1268.5 GEL, medium business – 1110 GEL, small business 646.6 GEL.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, commerce (automobiles, household products and personal items,  repair works), processing industry, housing sector are leaders in terms of number of employees (25.5%, 13.8% and 10.4% respectively).

However, an important ratio in the structure is created by the following sectors: healthcare and social assistance (10.3%), transport and communications (9.9%), real estate transactions, leading and consumer services (9.8%). As to quantity of employees, the figure is as follows due to regions: Tbilisi (65.8%), Ajara – 9%, Imereti – 6.9%, Kvemo Kartli – 5.5% and Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti – 3.6%.

Number of employees should grow in private sector, not in state structures, because growing number of employees in private sector signifies that the state economy is recovering.