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More unemployed than the figures show, say trade unions

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 1
Statistics suggest that in 2008 the unemployment rate in Georgia was 13%, or approximately 250,000 people. The ongoing financial crisis has increased this figure considerably, as in the construction business alone more than 60,000 people have been discharged.

The Georgian trade unions think that currently there are 100,000 more unemployed than the official figures state. The trade unions think that the figure of employed people needs to be revised because employed people who make less than the subsistence level are also in reality unemployed. Officially the subsistence level is GEL 130 and 22% of employed people make less than this amount. Furthermore, Chairman of the United Trade Unions Irakli Petriashvili states that in reality the subsistence level is around GEL 207.

President Saakashvili states that 28% of the population lives below the poverty line. The trade unions challenge this, saying that the percentage is higher, 37%. Even if 28% is true that means 1,257,000 people and only 700,000 of these receive special allowances, although from May this figure will rise to 900,000.