Bulgaria reshuffles funds to make a small dent in youth unemployment

Bulgaria reshuffles funds to make a small dent in youth unemployment


By Clive Leviev – Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

The Bulgarian government said on September 11 that it was granting a further 104 000 leva (about 52 000 euro) to counter youth unemployment by assisting employers who hire people younger than 29 – a step that it claims will create 300 jobs for young people by the end of 2013.

But the deal is not without its strings, because those hired, while having the appropriate qualifications and secondary or higher education, must not have been employed previously.

The period that the subsidy will be paid is from six to 18 months.

The decision was approved by the cabinet on September 11, amending the 2013 National Action Plan for Employment.

According to the government, the changes would mean jobs for 300 young people by the end of the year.

Labour bureau figures say that this year, of people up to the age of 24 who were unemployed, just less than eight per cent were university graduates.

As at the end of July 2013, a total of 34 412 young people were registered as unemployed, according to official figures. Of these, 63.6 per cent had “no qualifications”, official figures said.

Bulgaria earlier this year amended the Employment Promotion Act, introducing new incentives to support youth employment, in response to an EU Council recommendation on creation of a “Youth Guarantee”.

The funding for the amendments approved by the cabinet on September 11 is the result of reallocating reserves in the National Plan for Employment.

In mid-August, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said that unemployment among Bulgarians aged 15 to 29 was 21.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2013, up 0.7 percentage points from Q2 2012. Unemployment among men in this age bracket was 21.7 per cent and among women 21 per cent. Unemployment among women from 15 to 29 was three percentage points higher in Q2 2013 than in Q2 2012, while among men, it had dropped by one percentage point, according to the NSI.