No Employment Office, No Benefits albeit Promising Labour Statistics in Georgia

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The FINANCIAL — How do you cut the rate of unemployment? Different economists have varying views on this question but the final result should be creating more jobs surely?


The reality in Georgia though is far from what one imagines, as the Government long ago, namely since 2005, acted “smart” in order not to have a “pain in the neck” and abolished its unemployment office. By doing so they indirectly altered the labour statistics as such.

In Georgia there has been no employment office since then and no benefits for the unemployed; how does that translate to statistics you may ask. Here’s how, if you want to know how many unemployed people there are in the country, you pick the number of unemployed and divide it by the total labour force. But the question is who’s included in the labour force and who’s considered unemployed.

The Georgian statistics office defines an unemployed person in the following way: Unemployed – A person of the age of 15 or above, who was not employed (even for one hour) 7 days prior to the interview process, looking for a job in the last four weeks’ time and ready to start working within the next 2 weeks’ time.

Just in the above definition of an unemployed person a few questions remain but the most interesting part is how they gather whether a person has been looking for a job for the last 4 weeks when there is no employment office where people can declare that they’re unemployed.

With this question in mind I looked into the International Labour Organization’s country surveys, last updated on 10 February, 2012, which on Georgia explains: “seeking work includes registration with employment agencies”.

See also  Time Shifting 

Conversely, in the Geostat labour statistics methodology there is no word mentioned vis-à-vis employment office or unemployment benefits. However, it proudly underlines that “criteria and explanations used by the Geostat are based on the ILO methodology.”

The abovementioned “technical mistake” makes the Georgian unemployment rate look way less than it is in reality.

The situation in the regions of Georgia is far more dramatic as the majority of households are ‘unemployed’ and the families in most cases depend on pensions or remittance from close relatives.

On the other hand, the statistics about regional employment figures are more promising than in the cities, namely 27.2% unemployment in the cities and towns and 7.9% in the villages (according to the latest statistics of 2010). And that’s a result of the dubious self-employment indicators in Georgia.

In reality though rural dwellers are trying either to migrate towards the towns (where unemployment is high apparently) or if lucky, flee the country and take primitive occupations like babysitting, construction and other blue collar work in Turkey, Germany, Poland etc.

Unfortunately there are no job migration statistics in Georgia but if available the picture would be much clearer.

The new (2011) statistics about unemployment figures will be released by 25 May, 2012.

Despite the fact that the 2011 employment statistics aren’t out yet, there’ll not be much changes in them due to similar methodology remaining in practice.

Apart from the labour statistics, the current labour code which was accepted in 2006 is also the subject of harsh controversy by EU authorities. But there is hope that through recent “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” (DCFTA) negotiations, a lot of emphasis will naturally be put on the approximation of its standards and practices with those in the EU prevailing which were previously unheard of by the Government.

See also  Time Shifting 



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