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Resume: According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the economically active population; that is, the number of people looking for jobs or employed, decreased annually in 2016-2019. The unemployment rate is going down at the expense of a workforce decrease.

Since 2016, the number of people with jobs has been decreasing annually. In 2019, the number of hired employees decreased by 10,900 as compared to 2018.

The number of public sector employees increased by 27,800 in 2019 as compared to 2016. In the same period, employment in the non-state/private sector decreased by 54,900.

In his statement, Irakli Abesadze correctly indicates a decrease in the workforce and in the number of employees. It is also accurate that private sector employment has been decreasing in the past years as opposed to public service employment which is on the rise. Mr Abesadze also speaks about the loss of jobs in the business sector which is true as well.

Irakli Abesadze is supposedly comparing 2019’s last quarter data to 2018’s annual figure when he refers to a loss of 20,400 jobs in the business sector. The annual jobs figure in the business sector should not be compared to quarterly data since the annual figure reflects data from more enterprises. In order to see a trend, a certain quarter should be compared to the respective quarter of the previous year. In all four quarters of 2019, the number of jobs increased as compared to their respective quarters in 2018.

Analysis

On 26 June 2020, at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, European Georgia – Movement for Freedom MP, Irakli Abesadze, spoke about employment figures. As stated by Mr Abesadze: “In the past five years, the workforce and the active population is constantly decreasing in the country. People run away, or feeling hopeless, they refuse to work at all. In the past five years, jobs are decreasing every day and 11,000 jobs were lost in the hired employment sector in 2019 as compared to 2018. In 2016-2019, 55,000 jobs were lost in the private sector although an additional 28,000 jobs were created in the public sector… As compared to 2018, 20,400 jobs were lost in business in 2019.”

FactCheck took an interest in the accuracy of Irakli Abesadze’s statement.

According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the economically active population; that is, the number of people looking for jobs, decreased annually in 2016-2019. According to the methodology of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, if a person ceases to look for a job, he is no longer part of the workforce and is excluded from unemploymentstatistics. The unemployment rate decreased at the expense of a workforce decrease (see Graph 1).

Graph 1: Statistical Figures of Employment in 2012-2019

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

In 2019, the number of hired employees decreased by 10,900 as compared to 2018 whilst the number of self-employed individuals increased by 7,000. In total, the number of employees decreased by 4,000 in 2019.

Since 2017, the number of public sector employees has been increasing annually. The number of public sector employees increased by 27,800 in 2019 as compared to 2016. In the same period, employment in the non-state/private sector decreased by 54,900.

The National Statistics Office of Georgia makes calculations on business sector jobs based on the declared figures submitted by enterprises. The total number of jobs does not mean the same number of employed individuals. A working-age person may have two or more jobs.

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the number of jobs in the business sector in 2012-2018 increased annually. The annual figure for 2019 has not yet been published. Irakli Abesadze is supposedly comparing 2019’s last quarter data to 2018’s annual figure when he refers to a loss of 20,400 jobs in the business sector. However, a comparison of quarterly to annual data is certainly wrong and distorts the real picture. A quarterly figure has to be compared with the respective quarterly figure from the previous year. In all four quarters of 2019, the number of jobs increased as compared to the respective quarters of 2018. In addition, according to the data for the first quarter of 2020, jobs increased as compared to the respective quarters of both 2019 and 2018 (see Graph 2).

Graph 2: Business Sector Jobs by Quarters in 2018, 2019 and 2019

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

In an interview with FactCheck, the National Statistics Office of Georgia clarified that the annual jobs figure in the business sector should not be compared to quarterly data since the annual figure is based on a broader collection of data. For instance, the data of more than 15,000 enterprises are studied for compiling the annual figure whilst 12,000 are studied for quarterly figures.

In addition, statistical data illustrate that the annual jobs figure in the business sector exceeds the total quarterly or weighted average quarterly figures.