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Irakli Gharibashvili: “This year, the number of hired employees increased by nearly 20,000 and by 40,000 in rural areas.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement is FALSE.

Resume: Certainly, the annual figures of 2021 are not yet available. In the third quarter of 2021, the number of hired employees increased by 16,600 as compared to the same period of the previous year whilst the growth of hired employees in rural areas amounted to 17,300. There, the Prime Minister’s figures are not accurate. The Prime Minister also ignores the fact that the number of hired employees in urban areas has not increased and, on the contrary, slightly dropped. At the same time, the growth in the number of employees is largely attributable to the restoration of jobs lost amid the pandemic and it is not, in fact, real growth. Of note is that the number of hired employees both in rural areas and across the country is lower as compared to the non-pandemic period.

Analysis

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, whilst presenting the Government of Georgia’s 2021 annual performance report, stated: “This year, the number of hired employees increased by nearly 20,000 whilst the growth of hired employees in rural areas was over 40,000.”

According to the methodology of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, employees are divided into two categories: hired employees and self-employees. Of note is that looking at hired employment is more efficient when considering the total number of employed people. In the case of self-employed individuals, employment efficiency is much lower as they have largely low-income or/and unstable jobs.

Job loss amid the pandemic was a particularly acute problem which was stipulated by the pandemic and the related stringent and long-term economic restrictions. The number of hired employees in 2020 dropped by 52,200 as compared to the previous year. This negative trend continued in the first and second quarters of 2021 and the number of employees, including hired employees, kept decreasing as compared to the respective periods of the previous year.

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the number of employees in the third quarter of 2021 increased by 12,100 as compared to the same period of the previous year. Among other things, the number of hired employees increased by 16,600 and the number of self-employees by 4,500. However, the pandemic context needs to be taken into account. In particular, the relaxation of the stringent coronavirus-related economic restrictions was logically followed by a rebounding of different economic parameters, including employment figures. However, if we compare employment figures to those before the pandemic, the number of employees, including the number of hired employees, has decreased.

Graph 1: Employment Figures (Quarterly Data).

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the number of hired employees increased by 3,700 in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to the same period of the previous year,. Among other things, the number of hired employees increased by 17,300 and the number of self-employees decreased by 13,800. In rural areas, both the total amount of employees and hired employees decreased as compared to the same period of 2019 (non-pandemic year).

Graph 2: Employment Figures in Rural Areas (Quarterly Data).

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

In the third quarter of 2021, the number of hired employees in urban areas decreased by 6,000 as compared to the same period of the previous year.

The Prime Minister’s figures are inaccurate when speaking about the indicators vis-à-vis hired employees. In addition, he disregards the fact that the number of hired employees in urban areas decreased slightly. Furthermore, the Prime Minister fails to take the pandemic context into account. In particular, the number of employees dropped sharply in light of the stringent and long-term economic restriction in 2020 and these job losses, logically, were not lost permanently. Since 2021, these jobs have been gradually restored. According to the data of the third quarter of 2021, employment figures have decreased, let alone being higher as compared to the non-pandemic period.


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