Unemployment slightly decreased, social vulnerabilities remain
02 June, 2011
Unemployment slightly decreased, social vulnerabilities remain

First ever starting from 2007 unemployment level decreased by 0.6% in 2010 and accounted for 16.3%, Geostat, official statistics body, informed on May 27, 2011.  

According to Geostat, the unemployment level significantly increased in 2008-2009 from 13.3% fixed in 2007 to 16.5 and 16.9% respectively due to short-lived war with Russia in August of 2008 coupled with the global financial crisis. And the reduction of the unemployment level in 2010 is one of the economic factors bespeaking of economic stabilization.

On

the other hand, population became more active and employment levels increased by 0.6% and 0.9% respectively in 2010 compared to 2009. The growth of questioned parameters was mainly predefined by growth of employment activity in urban areas. The self-employment share traditionally exceeds in the total employment rate although in 2010 compared to 2009 the number of employed people went up by 2% from 36% to 38% and number of self-employed reduced similarly from 63.9% to 61.9%.

As a matter of fact great majority of rural population runs a labor activity in their household-lands and farming plots, therefore, in pursuance with the methodology of the International Labor Organization, the substantial portion of Georgian labor force is constantly employed.

Commensurately the unemployment level is lower within rural settlements rather than in urban population. Moreover, reduction of unemployment level in the country is mainly defined by slump of unemployment level from in urban areas (by 1.6 percentage point) from 28.8%  fixed in 2009 to 27.2% in 2010 as far as the unemployment level in rural areas even increased by 1 percentage point from 7.8% of 2009 to 7.9%  in past year.

Tendency of increasing employment level in the capital of Georgia and decrease of the similar data in boroughs resists. Irrespective the employment level increase by 0.5% in Tbilisi the questioned level slumped in almost all cities and boroughs countrywide.

As to regional layout of employment data its level reduced by 4.2% in Ajara Authonomus Republic, the Black Sea littoral, and by 3.9% in Shida Kartli [inner Kartli, east part of Georgia affected by August war].

The gender proportion in the employment picture of the country is redistributed as following: the unemployment level reduced in women in 2010 compared to 2009 rather than in men. More precisely, unemployment reduced by 1% in women while it reduced just by 0.2% in men. However, Geosat accentuates that unemployment level traditionally is lower in women than in men. The reason is major part of unemployed women are housewives and belong to relatively inactive stratum of population. Commensurately, the employment level as well as level of activity is lower in women than in men.

According to World Bank’s Progress Report aired in May of 2011 that assesses the implementation of the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Georgia in 2010-13, unemployment rates are at around 17% and rates are reportedly higher among the youth, as well as in the city of Tbilisi. Unemployment would have risen even more without the anti-crisis measures implemented by the Government and supported by the donors.

Yet social vulnerabilities remain significant as one in four Georgian remains poor. The economic downturn has put downward pressure on household incomes. The overall poverty rate increased from an estimated 22.7% in 2008 to 24.7% in 2009. The gap between urban and rural areas has widened. Rural poverty increased by nearly 3% between 2008 and 2009, compared to a corresponding increase in urban poverty of about 1%. Poverty simulations suggest that poverty rates would have been even higher in the absence of the scaling up of the social safety net.

The continued high level of private expenditures on health services limits the poor’s ability to access basic health care despite the doubling of budget expenditures on the medical insurance program for the poor. Large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to face economic and social deprivation. The first phase of the Government response following the August 2008 conflict focused on essential housing and basic social services for 30 thousand new IDPs. But there is still an unmet need to address housing for many of the IDPs from the 1990s. There is also the bigger challenge in terms of improving employment opportunities and livelihoods for all IDPs. Rising food and energy prices are putting additional pressures on household incomes, particularly for the poor and vulnerable.

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