Khatia Dekanoidze: “Georgia is among the world’s top ten countries with the highest rate of unemployment.”
Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Khatia Dekanoidze’s statement is a MANIPULATION
Resume: According to the ILO’s data, Georgia is ranked 13th among 186 countries and territorial units in terms of the unemployment rate. In the case of Georgia, these statistics reflect the unemployment rate for 2020 whilst also including unemployment figures before 2020 in the majority of cases; that is, prior to the outbreak of the pandemic (2019 and 2014-2018). A comparison of the data for different years, particularly before and after the pandemic, is manipulative and distorts the real picture.
In addition, the unemployment measurement methodology varies for different countries and, therefore, it is inappropriate to make a comparison between unemployment rates.
On 11 June 2021, at the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, UNM MP, Khatia Dekanoidze, stated: “Georgia is among the top ten countries with the highest rate of unemployment.”
The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) unemployment statistics include data from 186 countries and territorial units. These statistics reflect the unemployment rate in various countries/territorial units in different years. In the case of Georgia, the data includes the unemployment rate for 2020 whilst in most cases unemployment figures are taken from the years before 2020 (2019 and 2014-2018) and the outbreak of the pandemic (these are the latest available unemployment figures for countries). Of note is that the pandemic-induced global crisis and the ensuing restrictions in 2020 negatively affected the unemployment rate. In 2020, the unemployment rate in Georgia increased by 0.9 of a percentage point to 18.5%. Apart from the fact that the comparison of data for different years is inappropriate, the juxtaposition of the pre-pandemic period and the period after the outbreak of the pandemic distorts the real picture even further and is manipulative.
Another reason why it is wrong to compare the data of different countries is because of the unemployment measurement methodology. The ILO-suggested new unemployment measurement standard officially entered into force in October 2018 at the 20th International Conference of Labour Statisticians. The methodology has already been introduced in some countries but not everywhere. Georgia moved to the new ILO standard last year and employment/unemployment were recalculated. The new standard envisioned a recategorisation of self-employed people. As a result of the recalculation conducted in accordance with the new methodology, some self-employed persons were included in the unemployed category and some of them ended up outside of the workforce. Therefore, the number of unemployed individuals increased whilst the workforce; that is, the economically active population, decreased which caused a sharp growth in the unemployment rate.
Graph 1: Unemployment Rate (%) in 2010-2019 According to Old and New Methodologies
Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia
According to the ILO’s data, Georgia is ranked 13th among 186 countries in terms of the unemployment rate. However, as mentioned earlier, such a comparison is manipulative and distorts the real picture.
Source: International Labour Organisation (ILO)