The successful participation of youth in the Georgian labor market is crucial for not only their own personal wellbeing, but also the prosperity of the country as a whole. Although the broad topic of employment is one of the most discussed issues at the national level in Georgia, the more specific matter of youth employment is afforded relatively little attention. Seeking to address this shortcoming, this bulletin focuses on changes in the Georgian labor market and relevant indicators for the age group of 15-24 in the period of 2017-2021.
International rankings and indicators help us to understand and assess how countries are performing in different areas. In this bulletin, Georgia’s positions in international rankings and the dynamics therein are reviewed based on the latest data. Georgia’s positions will also be compared with other Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus).
Georgia is a country of emigration. Since the mid-1990s, Georgian migration patterns have been characterized as labor emigration driven by socio-economic challenges (high unemployment, poverty, and low salaries). As different studies have indicated, the significant proportion of Georgian labor emigrants reside and work illegally in their host country. The primary motivation for Georgian emigrants is to be able to send money back to their families in Georgia to support them. This bulletin discusses Georgia’s emigration trends and the role of remittances in the Georgian economy on macro and micro levels over the last decade.
Poverty alleviation remains one of the biggest challenges for the world, including Georgia. The COVID-19 crisis has worsen the problem as many households’ income shrank even further due to the crisis. For instance, according to a public opinion poll conducted by NDI in 2021, 37% of respondents indicated that poverty was the main issue they were facing. Against this background, we take a closer look at poverty in Georgia and discuss trends and changes therein over the last five years.
As Georgia struggles to overcome various social and economic problems, pensions remain among the country’s central issues.
For many years, Georgia’s pension system had comprised only a state pension based on a solidarity principle. However, the state pension had not been sufficient to allow retired persons to maintain acceptable living standards. Therefore, pension system reform was a topic of hot discussion for a long time in Georgia and pertinently, in 2018, a funded pension scheme was integrated into the pension system.
The following bulletin will review the key changes that have taken place in the pension system over the last five years.
PMC RC stands firmly with Ukraine, supports its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and condemns Russia’s ongoing military aggression. While the most devastating outcome of this war is the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine and the destroyed lives of people, it is also essential to discuss the consequences of this war on the global economy.
Georgia lacks its own production and is highly dependent on imports of essential food and energy goods. Considering Russia and Ukraine are prominent players in the global trade of food and agricultural products, while Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters of energy products, in this bulletin, we discuss threats to the food and energy security of Georgia amid Russia-Ukraine War.
In recent years strengthening vocational education and training (VET) has been among the top priorities of Georgia’s education strategy. In the process, several important reforms have been undertaken including the establishment of the “Vocational Skills Agency”, with the primary goal of increasing private sector participation in VET, and amendments to the rules regarding the authorization of VET institutions, which are widely believed to improve the quality of education. Moreover, specific goals were set under the “2021-2025 Vocational Education Strategy” such as increasing the number of VET students to support the country’s socio-economic development, ensuring their competitiveness by developing professional and general skills, and providing lifelong educational opportunities. The following bulletin discusses the trends of development in VET in Georgia over the last five years.
Socio-economic problems remain significantly challenging for Georgia. Specifically, in 2020, 21.3% of the Georgian population fell under the absolute poverty line. To support the most vulnerable within society, states ordinarily provide diverse social assistance, sometimes including subsistence allowance.
In Georgia, the subsistence allowance program provides financial aid to the country’s poorest families, which is determined by the Social Service Agency rating system. The lower a family’s rating, the poorer their financial position. Recent studies have however indicated that the program does not help beneficiaries to get out of poverty and instead encourages them to maintain a low income in order to receive the allowance. Moreover, the Georgian government plans to significantly reform the program in the nearest future. According to the planned reform, instead of providing money directly, families will be given job opportunities to improve their financial positions. Before changes are made within the program, we take a closer look at the dynamics and structure of the population to have been receiving the subsistence allowance over the last five years.
In recent years, the number of international students has been increasing worldwide. For instance, according to UNESCO data from 2015 to 2019, the number of international students increased from 4.8 million to 6.1 million. Moreover, studies have illustrated that international students, directly and indirectly, contribute to the host countries’ economies through tuition fees, living costs, transportation, travel, and other aspects. In this issue, we overview the dynamics of foreign students in Georgia and their financial contribution to the country’s educational sector.
The global economic recovery is ongoing, however the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing considerable volatility. Since the beginning of 2021, inflation rates have increased in both advanced and emerging economies, generally driven by pandemic-related supply-demand mismatches and rapidly rising commodity prices, following a global decline in inflation over the course of 2020. According to the latest forecasts, for most countries upward price pressures are expected to subside with a return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2022. With this in mind, it is pertinent to compare the inflationary trends of Georgia with global patterns.
In Georgia, the year-over-year (YoY) Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the average price of goods and services acquired by consumers compared to the reference period, has proved relatively similar to global trends, as in December 2020 the inflation rate showed a significant decline of 4.6 percentage points compared to December 2019, reaching 2.4%, major decrease (25.4 pp) in prices coming from “housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels” category, which can be explained by the introduction of utility subsidies for households from November 2020 and plummeting global oil prices in the middle of 2020. This figure was still higher than the lowest figure of the reporting period which was recorded in December 2018 (1.5%). Since the beginning of 2021, monthly YoY CPI inflation has been increasing sharply, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, and reaching its peak to date of 12.8% in October 2021 with a 10 pp increase from the beginning of the year.
On the contrary, YoY monthly core inflation increased in the middle of 2020, reaching 6.6% in June 2020 (with significant increases in prices of routine household maintenance, healthcare, and restaurants and hotels) and this has continued to be relatively stable with a monthly average value of 5.8% over the 2020-2021 period, while the pre-pandemic (2017-2019) monthly average was equal to 3.1%. The magnitude of the fluctuations was significantly lower in the case of core inflation compared to CPI inflation, which could be explained by the fact that the most significant price variations have tended to come under the food and energy categories.