On 17 August 2016, a member of the United National Movement, Roman Gotsiridze, organised a briefing where he discussed the Government of Georgia’s promise in regard to providing employment opportunities for pensioners. Mr Gotsiridze highlighted that Georgia does not have a problem with pensioner employment although it does have a problem with the employment of their children and grandchildren. He added that youth from the ages of 20 to 29 years constitute almost half of all the unemployed in the country.
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, there were 242,000 unemployed persons in Georgia in 2015 which constituted 12% of the labour force (the population over the age of 15 years able and willing to work). The National Statistics Office of Georgia publishes unemployment figures by age groups as well. Graph 1 illustrates that the highest unemployment rate (32%) is among those aged 20-24 years followed by individuals aged 15-19 years (26.2%) and then those between the ages of 25 and 29 years (20.7%). The unemployment rate decreases in parallel to the increase in age with the lowest unemployment rate (0.9%) among the population over the age of 65 years. The unemployment rate for individuals between the ages of 60 and 64 is 5.1%. The retirement age in Georgia is 60 years for women and 65 years for men. Therefore, the official data show the lowest unemployment rate among pensioners.Graph 1:
Unemployment Rate by Age Groups in 2015 (%)
Table 1 illustrates the distribution of the unemployed population based on the numbers. The highest amount of unemployed individuals comprising a total of 85,000 persons is in the group of those aged 20 to 29 years. However, they constitute 35% of the total unemployed in Georgia (and not almost a half as stated by Roman Gotsiridze). Of the total amount of unemployed individuals in the country, 91.5% are from the group of those aged 20 to 60 years (non-retirement age).
Distribution of Population over the Age of 15 Years in Terms of Employment
|Ages in Years||20-29||30-39||40-49||50-59||60-64||65+||Total|
|Active Population (workforce)||332||370||416||440||170||257||2,022|
|Population Outside the Workforce||153||91||67||81||57||336||958|
|Level of Activity (%)||68.4||80.2||86.1||84.5||74.8||43.3||67.8|
|Employment Rate (%)||51.0||68.1||77.4||77.1||71.0||42.9||59.7|
The reason behind the low employment rate among pensioners is that their activity is low. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, among individuals over the age of 65 years, only 43.3% are both capable and willing to work whilst the activity among those below the age of 65 is almost twice as high. If we take a look at the ratio of those seeking employment and those who are employed, we will see that the worst situation is in the group of those aged 20 to 29 years where only 74.5% of those seeking employment are employed. At the same time, 99% of the people over the age of 65 years who seek employment are employed.
Of Georgian employees, 58% are self-employed. These are individuals who do not have an official salary (for example, people engaged in agriculture, working as taxi drivers or private teachers, salesmen, etc.) but receive an income either in money or kind. The share of the self-employed is higher among the population over the age of 60 years. Among the population between the ages of 20 to 39 years, the number of those formally employed is higher than the amount of those self-employed whilst the situation changes with the share of self-employed increasing among those 40 years of age and older. The greatest amount of self-employed individuals is among the population over the age of 65 given that only 18% of them are formally employed.
In regard to the Government of Georgia’s promise that an employer will receive tax preferences if he hires a person of retirement age, this is clearly a promise aimed for the elections campaign. As statistical data illustrate, unemployment is a far more significant problem among the youth. Generally, if we want to facilitate a decrease in unemployment and the development of the economy, we have to give tax preferences to an employer if he hires a person of any age.
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, there were 242,200 unemployed individuals in Georgia in 2015. Of these, 85,000 were between the ages of 20 to 29 years which constitutes 35% of all of the country’s unemployed.
Official statistical data illustrate that unemployment among individuals of a non-retirement age is a far greater problem. This is mostly owing to the fact that individuals below the age of 65 have a higher capability and willingness to work. At the same time, a significant part of the pensioner population is self-employed (in this category, most people are working on their own land plots).
The Government of Georgia’s promise that an employer will receive tax preferences if he hires a person of retirement age is a promise aimed toward elections purposes and is not intended to solve the real problem of unemploymentFactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.