YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Republican Employment Service reported a ten percent decrease in Decembers unemployment rate than that of December 2000 (162,803 people applied to the agency in search of a job in December of 2001). The Information Center of the Employment Service told reporters that refugee status was granted to 142,235 people (85 percent) who applied (66 percent of them are women). The number of people seeking refugee status increased by 1.4 percent. Less than one percent of those looking for jobs are already employed–11.1 percent are looking for a job for the first time–0.05 percent are pensioners–and 0.4 percent are disabled.
The unemployed rate was at 9.8 percent in December–almost one percentage point less than last year’s rate. However–the Shirak and Lori regions–where the only two regions in Armenia where an increase in the unemployment rate was observed. Yerevan’s current unemployment rate is at 9.8 percent.
The number of unemployed individuals with a higher and secondary vocational education slightly increased (12.3 percent with a higher education and 24.5 percent with a secondary degree were registered as unemployed). The number of unemployed with an incomplete vocational education was reduced by 0.6 percent totaling at 6.1 percent–and the number of unemployed with general vocational education remained unchanged – 57 percent.
Close to 6,000 people received unemployment benefits in December–approximately 4,000 less than the year before. The State Social Security Fund is responsible for paying the unemployment benefits–which it carried out from January-May of 2001 and recently began paying for June-August of 2001.
Almost 7,000 citizens were deprived of benefits or financial assistance since the beginning of this year because they refused to take jobs they were offered. The State Social Security Fund saved 47.7 million drams because the government denied benefits to those offered jobs–but refused. Almost 200 illegally employed individuals were caught by Regional Centers of the Employment Service–and 1.3 million drams were confiscated from them.