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Eka Sepashvili: “In the second quarter of 2022, the unemployment decreased by 4%. Nearly 36,000 people found jobs and the number of self-employed people also increased.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Eka Sepashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.

Resume: In the second quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate decreased by 4 percentage points to 18.1% as compared to the same period of the previous year. In the same period, the number of hired employees increased by 36,200 (4.4%) and the number of self-employed people by 19,400 (5.1%). Although employment/unemployment figures improved in the second quarter of 2022, the indicators have actually worsened as compared to the pre-pandemic figures.

Therefore, the numbers in the MP’s statement are accurate. However, Eka Sepashvili speaks only about positive figures and overlooks the fact that jobs lost during 2020-2021 (amid the pandemic) have not yet been recovered.

Analysis

First Deputy Chairperson of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Eka Sepashvili, stated: “In the second quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate decreased by 4% which was reflected in nearly 36,000 people finding jobs and the number of self-employed people also increased.” According to the MP’s assessment, the decreased unemployment is indicative of positive shifts in the Georgian economy.

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the unemployment rate decreased by 4 percentage points to 18.1% in the second quarter of 2022 as compared to the same period of the previous year.

In the same period, the number of hired employees increased by 36,200 (4.4%) and the number of self-employed people by 19,400 (5.1%). Although employment/unemployment figures improved in the second quarter of 2022, the indicators have actually worsened as compared to pre-pandemic figures whilst the employment rate increased by 2.1 percentage points to 42.2%. In the same period, the number of employed individuals increased by 55,300 (4.5%) and reached 1,269,900. Of these, the number of hired employees increased by 36,200 (4.4%) and the number of self-employed people by 19,400 (5.1%).

Job losses amid the pandemic (2020-2021) created a particularly acute problem which was attributable to the pandemic and the government’s policy - the stringent and long-term economic restrictions. Lifting the regulations logically enabled a recovery in different economic parameters, including employment figures. In the first and second quarters of 2022, workforce indicators increased sharply, although pre-pandemic figures are yet to be recovered.

If we compare the indicators of the second quarter of 2022 to the same quarter of the pre-pandemic (2019) period, it turns out that the unemployment rate increased by 0.8 of a percentage point. The number of employed people is 45,800 less as compared to the pre-pandemic figure and the number of hired employees has decreased by 41,700. Therefore, the decreased unemployment rate in Georgia and the rising number of employees should be considered as a process of the recovery of jobs lost amid the pandemic.

In the first and second quarters of 2022, the employment indicators have indeed improved which is indisputably a positive occurrence. However, the MP overlooks the fact that unemployment still remains the most serious challenge and the jobs lost amid the pandemic have not yet been recovered.

Graph 1: Workforce Indicators (Quarterly) in 2019-2022

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia


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