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On 19 September 2014, during the debates held at the Imedi Channel, Giorgi Gabashvili stated:  “The data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia not only suggest that the number of employed people has dropped but that the wages of those who are employed have been reduced by 20%.”

FactCheck

took interest in employment statistics and verified the accuracy of the Parliamentary Minority MP’s statement.

We contacted Mr Gabashvili and asked him to clarify the stated statistics. According to the MP, what he had in mind in his statement was mainly the private sector and the reduction of wages therein. For more accuracy, we analysed the data of the last three years.

According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, in total, the number of employees of the private sector reached 534,397 in 2012. These numbers were up by 16,488, amounting to 550,885 in 2013. There was an increase in people employed by the private sector, amounting to 532,800 which is 18,400 people more than in 2012 (514,400).

Chart 1: image001 Source:  National Statistics Office of Georgia

As for 2014, the average number of employees of the private sector was equal to 501,650 in the first two quarters of the year. It was equal to 494,600 in 2013 and 486,550 in 2012.

The number of people employed by the private sector amounted to 464,650 people in the first two quarters of 2012, 474,700 in the same period of 2013 and 483,950 in 2014. As these data make clear, the number of people employed by the private sector in 2014 is also higher than in the previous years.

As for the changes in the wages of private sector employees, in his conversation with us Giorgi Gabashvili said that he had compared the data of the last quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. This comparison does indeed show the average wage reduction of 13.5%; however, the National Statistics Office of Georgia does not recommend comparing the data of a particular quarter to the previous one as it does not yield accurate results. The main reason for this is the seasonality factor which can be excluded in the case of comparing the data of a particular quarter to the same quarter of the previous year.  FactCheck wrote

about this issue earlier in the year as well.

As pointed out before, in order to see the real situation concerning wages one needs to compare the data of any given period of time with the data of the same period of the previous year. The average monthly wage of employees of the private sector amounted to GEL 779.1 in the first quarter of 2014. This number was equal to GEL 717.7 in 2013 and GEL 690.9 in 2012. It is clear that there is an increase in wages in the first quarters of both 2013 and 2014.

As for the average monthly wage of employees of the private sector, calculated using the data of the whole year, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, it was equal to GEL 714.3 in 2012 and GEL 760.1 in 2013. As we can see, the average monthly wage increased by 6.4% in 2013.

Conclusion

According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, there was no reduction of employment in the private sector in 2013 and the first two quarters of 2014. Both the number of employees in the private sector and the number of people employed by the private sector increased.

When talking about wages Mr Gabashvili used an incorrect method of comparison, comparing the data of the first quarter of 2014 to the data of the last quarter of 2013. As pointed out earlier, this method is not accurate and does not give a real picture of the situation. In order to get accurate results one needs to compare the data of a particular quarter of the year to the same period of the previous year.

As a result of using the comparison strategy recommended by the National Statistics Office of Georgia we found that there has been no wage reduction in the private sector. Furthermore, there is a trend of wage growth.

FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Gabashvili’s statement, “The data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia not only suggest that the number of employed people has dropped but that the wages of those who are employed have been reduced by 20%,” is a LIE.

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