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Increased job opportunities not the only factor contributing to a recent drop in Armenia’s unemployment rates

Those who fail to find work prefer either to go abroad to work for a while or to immigrate forever.

Armenia has recently seen a drop in unemployment rates. According to official data, the number of unemployed people dropped by 67 000 over the past seven years.

Government officials view these changes as positive, while experts note that unemployment rates have dropped because of different circumstances, many of them less than encouraging.

According to Hasmik Tadevosyan, Head of the Labor Market Monitoring, Forecasting and Assessment Department at the Armenian State Employment Service Agency, the unemployed have dwindled in number because people prefer to immigrate instead of finding a job in their native country.

Babken Tunyan, an expert in economic issues, pointed out in a recent article: “The number of employed people in Armenia increased by 67 000, but there is a discrepancy in the figures, which does not allow to ‘wholeheartedly’ rejoice over a drop in unemployment rates.”

“Let’s ask a simple question: If the number of employed has increased by 67 000, then how much should the number of unemployed have dropped? Do you think it has dropped by the same or approximately the same number? We also thought so, but the statistics show quite the opposite … The number of unemployed has dropped just by 2 500. Who has taken the other 64 500 new jobs in this case?” asked Babken Tunyan.

Experts note that a surplus of specialists in certain areas is the main reason for unemployment in Armenia. However, according to Anahit Kizogyan, Director of the ‘Work for All’ employment agency, there are very few experienced specialists who meet employers’ requirements.

“Our universities just churn out graduates, but they fail to ensure quality: they train personnel who don’t meet the labor market’s requirements, while the young people are too lazy to work on themselves independently. When a person who graduated three years ago goes to a job interview, he shouldn’t expect an employer not to ask him about his work experience. It’s erroneous to constantly say that an employer is fastidious,” she said.

Most of the unemployed in Armenia are women. According to the State Employment Service Agency, as of 1 January 2018, women made up 66.7% (46 800 people) of the total number of unemployed in the country.

According to Hasmik Tadevosyan, an employment agency official, there have always been more unemployed women than men in Armenia. She believes that men look for jobs independently, through their friends and acquaintances. If they fail, they go to work abroad:

“It’s common knowledge that men leave the country to work overseas more often than women, and their number has increased considerably in recent years.”

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