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On 1 June 2017, Movement for Freedom – European Georgia member, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, in his speech before the Parliament of Georgia, stated:

“The National Statistics Office of Georgia has published unemployment figures and the unemployment rate among the youth between the ages of 20-24 years is 30%. These are persons looking for a job for the first time, just after graduating from university.”

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

According to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) methodology (which is used by the National Statistics Office of Georgia as well), an employed person can be an individual aged 15 years or older who has performed some work for a period of seven days prior to the reference period (at least one hour) for a wage, who has performed some work for free for family gain or who has been temporarily not at work for some reason but with a formal attachment to his job. An unemployed person can be an individual aged 15 years or older who has not performed work for a period of seven days prior to the reference period, has been looking for a job during the last four weeks and who is ready to start working in the next two weeks.

According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, there were 235,100 unemployed persons in Georgia in 2015. This constitutes 11.8% of the workforce (part of the population 15 years of age or older who are able and willing to work).

The National Statistics Office of Georgia publishes unemployment data in terms of age groups. Graph 1 illustrates that the highest level of unemployment is among the 15-19 year old age group (31.9%) which is followed by the 20-24 year old age group (30%) and the 25-29 year old age group (21.6%). The unemployment rate declines in the higher age groups and the lowest rate, at 1.5%, is registered among the population aged 65 years and older. In Georgia, the retirement age for women is 60 years and the retirement age for men is 65 years. Therefore, the official figures indicate that the lowest unemployment rate is among that part of the population which has reached retirement age.

Graph 1:

 Unemployment Rate in Terms of Age Groups in 2016 (%)

image002 Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia  

Numerically speaking, the largest amount of unemployed persons with a total of 37,000 individuals is found in the 20-24 year old age group.

The level of activity is also very high in the 20-24 year old age group. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, 57.6% of this group of the population is willing and able to work.

In Georgia, a person finishes school at the age of 17-18 years with the majority continuing their studies in institutions of higher educational. A bachelor’s degree is earned after four years of study. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the largest number of students are in the 20-21 year old age group (in total, 48,286 persons). Presumably, fourth-year university students and new graduates are those most actively seeking jobs which means that they become a part of the most economically active population although one-third of them is unable to find a job.

The highest unemployment rate among the youth between the ages of 20-24 years was in 2009 when it reached 39.9% as a result of the world economic crisis. Since 2010, the unemployment rate in the aforementioned age group has been dropping and despite the existence of challenges in gaining employment, it dropped to a ten year minimum in 2016.

Graph 2:

 Unemployment Rate in 20-24 Year Old Age Group (%)

image003 Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia  

In regard to general indicators of unemployment and employment (not in terms of age groups), the number of unemployed dropped by 7,000 in 2016 and the number of employed people dropped by 13,000. The unemployment rate dropped by 0.2% and the economically active population (workforce) decreased by 24,000 in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Table 1: 

Employment and Unemployment (thousand persons)

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Workforce 1,918 1,992 1,945 1,959 2,029 2,004 1,991 2,022 1,998
Employed 1,602 1,656 1,628 1,664 1,724 1,712 1745 1,780 1,763
Unemployed 316 336 317 295 305 292 246 242 235
Unemployment Rate (%) 16.5 16.9 16.3 15.1 15 14.6 12.4 12 11.8
Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

  Conclusion

According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, there were 235,100 unemployed people in Georgia in 2016. Of this number, the largest amount of unemployed persons are in the 20-24 year old age group which amounts to a total of 37,000 people. However, there is a continious trend of decline in the unemployment of this particular age group with their unemployment rate now at its lowest in the last ten years.

Official statistics show that unemployment is a far greater problem among the non-retired segment of the population because the youth is more able and willing to work.

FactCheck concludes that Zurab Tchiaberashvili’s statement is TRUE.

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