The world economic crisis brought to the Bulgarian economy ten consecutive quarters of a decrease regarding the annual employment rate from the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2011 – from 55.1% to 49.3%. A period followed during which the labour market continued to lose jobs, but due to the diminishing population, and the workforce respectively, employment remained relatively steady. It was only in the first half of 2013 that symptoms of a real recovery pertaining to a certain number of jobs, lost during the crisis, appeared. The situation considerably enhanced several quarters later as the number of employed increased by more than 39,000 people during the first quarter of 2014. This growth rate pertaining to opening jobs, compared to the previous year, has also remained during the period April–June 2014.
Figure 1: Annual change in the number of employed persons and the employment rate by quarters (2009-2014)
Source: NSI, IME calculations
Despite the data that show a better situation in Bulgaria, there are still a number of districts where the labour market’s recovery has not started yet, or has just begun. Such are the districts of Lovech, Ruse, Targovishte and Silistra in North Bulgaria, and also Blagoevgrad and Kyustendil in the southern part of the country. In addition, there are districts where the labour market has remained steady during the crisis (like Stara Zagora) but wherein negative trends were available during last quarters.
The main part of the growth of employed persons on a national level during the last year and a half is due to the rapid recovery of the most districts in the South Central Region of Bulgaria, and also due to the positive trends concerning the employment rate in some of the leading economic centres such as Burgas, Sofia (capital) and Varna. The situation concerning the labour market in Northeast Bulgaria and North Central Bulgaria has continued to be critical, with individual exclusions (such as Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo) as the employment rate (annual average) has remained below 40% between 2012 and 2013 in a number of districts in these regions.
Quarterly data of the National Statistical Institute on the number of employed persons in individual statistical regions and districts have been used for demonstrating the process of the labour market’s recovery in individual districts of Bulgaria. The employment rate and the unemployment rate of the population aged 15+ have been considered in the analysis of the data. The researched period encompasses fifteen quarters: from the first quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2014.
The districts have been analysed depending on the statistical region they belong to. The tables that precede every statistical region are intended to demonstrate the annual trends of increase or decrease in the number of employed persons in the districts’ economies. For this purpose, every second successive quarter of an increase in the number of employed persons on an annual basis has been marked in blue colour, and every second successive quarter of an annual decrease – in red.
Table 1: Example for presentation of the results
Source: NSI, IME calculations
In the example of Vratsa, the red colour for the second quarter of 2011 means that it has been the second consecutive quarter of a decreasing number of employed persons on an annual basis. An increase of employed persons on an annual basis was noted in the fourth quarter of 2011 (relative to the same period of 2010), which is why the square is white, i.e. it demonstrates an interruption of the trend. The second successive quarter featuring a growth (and the only instance when the district has registered two consecutive quarters of increasing the number of employed persons on an annual basis) has been the period January–March 2012. It is clear that a long period of a continuous decrease has ensued, which has been interrupted twice – during the third quarter of 2013 and the second one of 2014. However, the district has not managed to register any longer trend of increasing the number of employed persons (i.e. two successive quarters at least), which is to be marked in blue.
The goal of this approach is to clearly demonstrate the periods of permanent loss of jobs on an annual basis (marked in red) and the ones regarding any sustainable growth (marked in blue). Usage of annual comparisons allows seasonal trends to be isolated, which are particularly notable in some districts in Southeast Bulgaria and Northeast Bulgaria, and also to negate the statistical effect on employment due to the decreasing workforce in individual districts. Usage of statistical data regarding fluctuations in the number of employed person instead of the employment rate is aimed at distinguishing sustainable trends in creating jobs, which implies an increase in the number of employed persons despite the availability of local negative demographic processes. Districts where the number of employed persons has grown during several successive quarters, given the diminishing population, could be defined as districts where the recovery of the labour market has been relatively steady.
Source: NSI, IME calculations
The recovery of the labour market in the Northeast Region has started relatively lately – during the first quarter of 2013. On this account, the annual average unemployment rates in the four districts (Dobrich, Shumen, Targovishte and Varna) has remained higher than Bulgaria’s average, excluding the district of Varna where there was a drop in the level thereof in 2013 – Varna has been the fastest recovering district in the region for the past several quarters.
The number of employed persons has been the highest in Varna District – it reached 192,400 persons in the second quarter of 2014, which was almost 20,000 people more than the lowest level reported during the crisis: 172,600 people in the second quarter of 2012. If this positive trend and the recovery rate continue, the number of employed persons in Varna District will exceed 200,000 people in the first half of 2015, which has never occurred since the third quarter of 2010. A certain increase in the number of employed people could also be expected in the neighbouring districts of Dobrich and Shumen, given such a development, due to the traditionally intensive daily occupational migration from these districts to Varna.
Shumen also remained the district featuring the highest annual average unemployment rate in 2013 – 26.6%, Bulgaria’s average being 12.9%. The labour market was extremely volatile, alternating quarters featuring a robust growth or drop in the number of employed persons with quarters featuring stagnation, without any clear seasonal dependencies. The overall trend has also been one of an increase in the number of employed persons, but the sudden drops in the fourth quarter of 2012 and in the third quarter of 2013 hindered a more sustainable growth of the annual average employment rate for the past two years.
By excluding temporary turmoil on the labour market in the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, the employment rate has sustained its growing trend for a third successive year in the district of Dobrich. In 2013, the annual average employment rate reached 47.3% for Dobrich District, which was the sixth highest in Bulgaria, the average rate being 46.9%. Therefore, the employment rate has already been higher than the one regarding 2009 (45.7%) and has almost reached the top 49% reported in 2008.
Although the labour market has been stable from 2009 to 2011 in Targovishte District, the closure of some big enterprises therein in 2012 and 2013 has initiated a period of a shrinking employment rate. The employment rate of the population aged 15+ dropped below 40% in 2013, for the first time since 2004, which was accompanied by an increase in the unemployment rate up to 15.7%. The only districts where the employment rate was lower in 2013 were Lovech and Silistra. Simultaneously, in the first half of 2014, the number of employed persons was about 2,000 people higher compared to the same period of 2013, which could be an indication of a gradual stabilisation of the local labour market.
Some strategic risks before the further recovery of the regional labour market are available, the main one being the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine whereto a significant portion of a number of local enterprises’ production has been exported to. The crisis in Ukraine could negatively affect the inflow of tourists from the Black Sea countries, depending on its scope and duration, which could impact the economies and the labour markets of the districts of Dobrich and Varna.
Source: NSI, IME calculations
Despite that the number of employed persons increased on an annual basis in the first two quarters of 2014, this improvement has almost entirely been due to the sharp boost in the number of employed persons in Veliko Tarnovo District, and also due to the slight increase in Razgrad. The labour market has been volatile since the beginning of 2014 in the other three districts, and the negative trends that had already been noted have continued in Ruse and Silistra, and the drop in Gabrovo has occurred following a long period of enhancement.
Evidence of the crisis’s intensity on the labour market in Ruse District presents the fact that 106,200 people were employed in the second quarter of 2010, this figure being 94,900 people in Veliko Tarnovo. For the same period of 2014, 86,100 people have been employed and 100,600 people in the district of Veliko Tarnovo. Although the employment rate in Ruse has continued to be the second biggest in the region, following the one in Gabrovo, and the unemployment rate has been about Bulgaria’s average rates, the labour market data does not imply any near reversal of the negative trends and any recovery of the levels before the crisis.
The districts of Ruse and Silistra have reported a decrease in the number of employed persons on an annual basis, and that decrease has been quite strong in order to cause a decrease in the employment rate in recent years. The lowest annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ was registered in 2013 in Silistra District – 37.1%, 46.9% being for Bulgaria.
The labour market in Razgrad District remained relatively steady during the crisis period, which was why the annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ was about the levels of 2008 and 2009. Simultaneously, it has traditionally remained one of the lowest ones in the country – only 39.9% in 2013, accompanied by a 20-percent unemployment rate since 2010.
The annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ increased in 2013 in Gabrovo District for a second consecutive year, and reached 48.1%, which is the fourth highest rate in Bulgaria. This favourable trend has been accompanied by an ongoing decrease in the unemployment rate – to 8.8%, the lowest levels being registered only in Sofia (capital). These data are very positive given the unfavourable age structure of the district’s population, which implies a decreasing employment rate of the population aged 15+ in view of the increasing proportion of retired people to the entire population. This trend has been reversing since the beginning of 2014, and the number of employed persons decreased in the second quarter of 2014 on an annual basis. If this decrease continues during next quarters, the employment rate of the population aged 15+ (annual average) will very likely decrease in 2014.
It has been for third successive year that the number of employed persons in Veliko Tarnovo District has exceeded 100,000 persons, which happened in the third quarter of 2012 and 2013, and as early as the second one in 2014. Given the increasing employment rate, the monitored growth of the unemployment rate in 2012 and 2013 could be regarded as a positive sign of an increased economic activity of the local population resulting from the returning of discouraged people to the labour market. The fluctuation in the number of employed persons in the first and the second quarter of 2014 in the districts of Ruse and Veliko Tarnovo implied a decrease in the employment rate in the first district and an increase in the second one. If the current trends continue, the employment rate of the population aged 15+ (annual average) for 2014 might equal the one pertaining to Ruse District, or might be higher than it, which has not happened since 2003.
There are also enterprises in the North Central Region of Bulgaria which businesses could be negatively affected by a possible deepening of the crisis in Ukraine. The eventual acceleration of some essential infrastructural projects, such as the Hemus Super, might positively affect the local labour market in next several years.
Source: NSI, IME calculations
Since 2012, the employment rate of the population aged 15+ (annual average) has remained below 40% in the districts of Lovech, Montana, Vidin and Vratsa. Following a short period of enhancement, the labour market in the Northwest Region started to lose jobs in the summer of 2013, and the decrease also continued in 2014 in some districts.
The crisis has indisputably been the worst in Lovech District, where 40,300 people were employed in the second quarter of 2014 – about 30% less than the relevant period of 2010. If the minimal increase of the number of employed people on an annual basis in the third and fourth quarter of 2013 is excluded, a negative trend will be clearly demonstrated. Given the continuing decrease in the employment rate, the low level of the unemployment rate (only 10.7% in 2013 compared to 12.9% for Bulgaria) could be interpreted as a sign of a high share of discouraged persons.
Vidin District has traditionally featured a low employment rate and a high unemployment one. Nonetheless, the district recorded a significant increase in the number of employed persons on an annual basis during the three quarters of 2013, resulting in an annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ of 39.6%, and the unemployment rate, though higher than Bulgaria’s average, stopped increasing. This improvement in the annual average rate is due to two factors: a relatively steady annual average number of employed persons in 2012 and 2013, and a quickly decreasing population of the district. For instance, employed persons in the region were 33,200 people in 2010, and the population aged 15+ was 93,000 people; in 2013, employed persons were 33,600 people, and the population was 83,900 people regarding the same age category.
For the period 2012-2013, a similar trend (a relatively constant number of jobs and an increasing annual average employment rate) has been noted in the district with the highest number of citizens in the Northwest Region – Pleven. Simultaneously, the annual average employment rate for the district, though the biggest one in the Northwest Region, has remained far below the level prior to the crisis due to the loss of a number of jobs in 2010 and 2011.
The labour market in the districts of Montana and Vratsa has also continued to stagnate – in the last eight quarters, neither district managed to increase the number of employed persons on an annual basis in two consecutive quarters. In the second quarter of 2014, the number of employed persons in Montana District was 9.4% lower than the relevant period of 2010, and the one in Vratsa – 13.3% lower.
Source: NSI, IME calculations
The labour market of the Southeast Region of Bulgaria remained steady from 2011 to 2012. The situation changed in 2013 and the first half of 2014 when the number of employed persons plunged in the districts of Stara Zagora and Yambol, which also affected the data for the entire region.
A steady trend of job cuts was observed only in Sliven District from 2011 to 2012, which reported eight successive quarters of a diminishing number of employed people. As a result of that, the annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ fell to 41.8% in 2012, which was the lowest value since 2005. The drop in the annual average employment rate also continued in 2013 when it reached 41.3%, but the reversal of the trend during the second half of the year and the better beginning of 2014 have shown an expected growth from the lowest levels. Sliven also was the only district in the region wherein the annual average unemployment rate decreased in 2013, though it remained the highest one among the other districts in Southeast Bulgaria – 15.9%.
Although the number of employed persons decreased by 11.7% during the period fourth quarter of 2010 – fourth quarter of 2012 in Stara Zagora District, the annual average employment rate remained at the same levels like the ones for 2008 and 2009. This is largely due to the drastic revision of the NSI data pertaining to the employment rate in the district in 2011, as a consequence of the rectification of the gaps between the current population statistics and the results of the census in 2011. In terms of Stara Zagora, the annual average employment rate has been increased from 45.1% to 48.5%, or by 3.4%, constituting the biggest revision for Bulgaria. This means that the employment rate has probably been underestimated as well before the crisis. The number of employed persons started to decrease in 2013, following the completion of the construction works along the Trakia Highway and also as a result of job cuts in a number of public and private enterprises. The annual average employment rate for the district dropped to 44.8% as a result of several successive quarters featuring a diminishing number of employed persons, which has been the lowest level for the past ten years. Job cuts also continued in 2014 though at a slower pace.
The labour market of Yambol District was among the best performing in 2011 and 2012 – it recorded only one quarter featuring a decrease in employed persons on an annual basis during this difficult period for Bulgaria’s economy. As a result of that, the district managed to recover, as at the end of 2012, a part of the lost employment rate for the period 2009–2010. Similarly to the trends noted in Stara Zagora District in 2013 and the first two quarters of 2014, the number of employed persons started to plunge resulting in a decrease of the annual average employment rate in 2013 to 46.6% compared to 48.4% in 2012. Yambol District also ranks among the ones where the employment rates have probably been underestimated before the crisis (the annual average employment rate was increased from 44.5% to 47.0% during the review of 2011), which is why the current negative trends make it several years away from reaching the real employment rates before the crisis. The unemployment rate in Yambol was the highest in Southeast Bulgaria in 2013 – 16.1% compared to 15.9% for Sliven District.
Burgas District stands out as one of the fastest recovering districts in Bulgaria in respect of the labour market. The annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ gradually increased from 2011 to 2013, and the enhancement was noticeable not only during summer months that are traditionally very strong, but also during the rest of the relevant years. As a result of this positive trend, Burgas was the only district in 2013 in Southeast Bulgaria where the employment rate (47.8%) was higher than Bulgaria’s average (46.9%), and the unemployment rate was lower – 12.7% compared to 12.9%. The two successive quarters of a rising number of employed persons on an annual basis, since the beginning of 2014, have shown that the annual average rate has equalled the one for 2009, and that it has also reached the employment rates before the crisis. Burgas has gradually become a recognized leader in respect of employment in the region because 175,900 people worked in the second quarter of 2014 (or 43.0% of all employed persons in Southeast Bulgaria); this figure was 163,400 people for the relevant period of 2010 (or 38.5% of all employed persons in the region).
Source: NSI, IME calculations
The South Central Region has been the indisputable leader in terms of the recovery of the labour market since the second quarter of 2012. The region has reported nine successive quarters of an increasing number of employed persons on an annual basis, the enhancement being visible during the bigger part of the period in all districts within it – Haskovo, Kardzhali, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv and Smolyan.
288,900 people were employed in Plovdiv District during the second quarter of 2014, which equalled the rate of the relevant period of 2010. Simultaneously, the annual average employment rate increased from 46.5% to 48.1% from 2010 to 2013 due to the diminishing population. The positive beginning of 2014 and the record increase of the number of employed persons by 11,400 people on an annual basis in this period imply that the 50.5% peak featured in 2008 would soon be repeated. Unemployment in Plovdiv District has continued to grow since the beginning of the crisis (up to 13.4% in 2013), but this could be rather referred to the increasing economic activity and the district’s citizens’ desire to be employed.
An intensive recovering has started in Pazardzhik District since the beginning of 2013, following a continuous decrease in the employment rate. The number of employed persons has increased by 16,100 people (or 17.2%) from Q2 2012 to Q2 2014, which has constituted the fastest recovery rate in the entire country (the average being 2.3%). Pazardzhik District is one the three districts (along with Blagoevgrad and Smolyan) where the pre-crisis employment rates have most probably been overestimated by the national statistical institute due to the lower estimate pertaining to the local population in the current population statistics compared to the subsequent review based on the 2011 census. Nevertheless and despite the recovery that has begun, the short-term employment rate for the district would most probably remain below Bulgaria’s average rates.
The data on the state of the labour market in Kardzhali District have continued to be occasionally regarded unrepresentative by the NSI, mostly due to the lack of certainty in respect of the demographic statistics pertaining to the district’s population size. According to the NSI’s data, the number of employed persons in Kardzhali District has increased on an annual basis, without any exception, since the beginning of 2011; it has recorded fourteen successive quarters of growth. According to the NSI’s data, the unemployment rate in the district has been the lowest in Bulgaria (only 7.0% in 2013), and the employment rate reached 47.1% in 2013, the average being 46.9%. The annual average employment rate for the district has been higher than Bulgaria’s average for the first time since 2004.
The analysis of the number of employed persons per quarter, in Haskovo District, from Q1 2010 to Q2 2014, has shown a clear and steady trend of recovering of the labour market. The number of employed people has decreased on an annual basis during 2011 and Q1 2012, but the drop has been lower during every consecutive quarter. Two quarters of stagnation ensued in the summer of 2012, whereupon a gradual and steady recovery has started which peak was observed in Q1 and Q2 of 2014. As a result of that, the average annual employment rate reached 44.9% in 2013, the lowest one being 42.2% in 2011, and the unemployment rate dropped to 14.3%, the top one being 15.9% in 2011. The number of employed people in the district amounted to 100,000 persons in Q2 2014 – for the first time since Q3 2010. Despite the recovering local labour market, the probability that Haskovo District should reach the annual average 2008 and 2009 employment rates in 2014 or 2015 remains low.
Smolyan District has been the only district in the South Central Region where there has been a drop in the number of employed persons for the past several quarters. Nonetheless, the aggravation has been insignificant given the fast increase of the annual average employment rate from 2011 to 2013 – from 40.6% to 46.8%. The unemployment rate in the district has also decreased but it has ranked number one in the region and number four in Bulgaria, 20.3% in 2013 – higher levels have been registered only in Shumen (26.0%), Silistra (21.3%) and Razgrad (20.7%). Notwithstanding the availability of some positive trends, the labour market in Smolyan has performed far worse than its best employment rate prior to the crisis – 54.2% in 2008.
Source: NSI, IME calculations
The labour market in Southwest Bulgaria has continued to fluctuate. Although the number of employed persons has increased on an annual basis from Q1 2013 to Q2 2014, the most part of this enhancement has been due to job openings in Sofia (capital). The other districts have continued to face difficulties, and long-term negative trends have been obvious in districts that are more distant from the capital city.
For the past decade, Blagoevgrad traditionally has been one of the districts, which has had the highest annual average employment rate in Bulgaria – even higher than the one for Sofia (capital) in various periods of time. In 2008, the district’s employment rate reached 57.2%, the country’s average being 50.8%, and the unemployment rate (1.8%) was three times less than the average rate of 5.6%. A trend of diminishing number of jobs has settled for the following period of recession and recovery – a decrease of 15,300 people, or 10.1% less, was observed in Q2 2014 compared to the relevant period of 2010. Unemployment has increased as a result of that, reaching 13.5% in 2013 – probably the worst year for the local labour market. It has been for the time, for the past two decades, that the unemployment rate in the district has been higher than Bulgaria’s average. Despite these lasting negative trends, Blagoevgrad has remained the district featuring the highest employment rate in the country, following Sofia. Simultaneously, the lack of indications of a started recovery of the labour market and the increasing rates of employment in other districts such as Burgas, Gabrovo and Plovdiv show that this leading position could soon be outranked in the following couple of years.
The number of employed persons in Kyustendil District increased in only three out of the last fourteen quarters, and 8,100 less people (or 14.1%) worked in Q2 2014 compared to the relevant period of 2010. The unemployment rate in the district has been almost 15% since 2011, and the employment rate of the population aged 15+ has continued to decrease, reaching 42.4% in 2013 – the lowest level since 2004.
Similar, though not so distinguishable, negative trends were observed in Pernik District. In 2013, the unemployment rate remained slightly higher than Bulgaria’s average (13.0%), and the employment rate represented a 9-year low of 45.5%, which was also below Bulgaria’s average rate of 46.9%. Simultaneously, the proximity to the capital city and the traditionally high number of daily occupational migrants, who leave Pernik District to get to their workplaces, imply a more intense dependence between the enhancement of the situation on the labour market in the capital and the one pertaining to Pernik. Therefore, Pernik has been the only district in the region where the fluctuation of the number of employed persons in the researched period of time has developed similarly to the capital’s fluctuation. In reality, the only district in the region where the fluctuation of the number of employed persons in the researched period of time shows a positive relation, though poor, to persons employed in the capital city is Pernik District; the other districts show moderate, negative correlation. This means that when the number of employed persons in Sofia (capital) has increased, the one for the other districts (exclusive of Pernik) has dropped in most cases. Pernik has been the only district in the region for Q2 2014, other than Sofia (capital), where the number of employed persons has been reported to have grown on an annual basis.
The number of employed persons has gradually decreased on an annual basis almost for the entire period Q1 2010–Q2 2014. Nonetheless, the employment rate in the district has remained relatively steady despite the decreasing population – the annual average employment rate of the population aged 15+ for the period 2011–2013 has been about 46.0%. The annual average unemployment rate of the district reached 10.0% in 2013, but remained lower than Bulgaria’s average rate of 12.9%.
The recovering of the labour market in Sofia (capital) gathered pace in 2013. Following seven successive quarters of an increasing number of employed persons on an annual basis, 650,100 people worked in Q2 2014, in comparison with 622,200 people in the relevant period of 2010, or 4.5% more. The annual average employment rate in the district managed to exceed the 2012 six-year low of 55.7% as a result of this positive trend as early as 2013, and it reached 56.1%. The strong beginning of 2014 and the highest recorded increase in the number of employed persons since the beginning of the crisis (19,800 more compared to the relevant period of 2013) imply a further boost to the employment rate and reaching the 2010 level of 57.4% as early as the end of 2014. It should be noted that the number of persons employed in the capital city should considerably increase in order to reach the 2008 and 2009 pre-crisis rates of more than 60%. The reason thereof is that the population of the capital has continued to grow even during the crisis, which means that a higher number of jobs would be necessary to attain the same employment rate.
For the purposes of the third annual research Regional Profiles: Indicators of Development, the IME conducted a survey among 1,680 companies throughout Bulgaria in May 2014. The research aimed at evaluating companies’ attitudes to opening or cutting jobs during the period June 2014–May 2015, along with a number of questions disclosing business evaluations of the quality of local administrative services and the local business environment.
The results demonstrated on Figure 3 represent the average grade of the interviewed business representatives about their intentions of opening or cutting jobs. A result above 3 demonstrates expectations for opening jobs, and a result below 3 – for cutting jobs.
Since businesses have expected an increase in the number of employed persons in only ten districts out of twenty-eight for the same period of 2013, the expectations for 2014 are for a positive development of the labour market in all of them. The forecasts of the interviewed business representatives of individual districts have been provisionally classified into two groups due to this reason and depending on the forecasts: districts expecting a slight improvement and districts expecting more significant improvement.
Figure 2: Expectations of businesses for the dynamics of employees in the period June 2014 - May 2015
Source: IME survey among businesses (May 2014)
It is notable that, unlike the 2013 survey where the predominating part of businesses in North Bulgaria forecast job cuts, companies even in the northern part of the country rather expect to preserve, or minimally to increase, the number of employed persons in 2014.
The highest growth rate of the number of employed persons is expected in the districts of Haskovo, Sliven and Varna, and the data on the change in the number of employed persons confirmed these expectations in Q2 2014. In eight out of nine districts where businesses expect more significant enhancement of employment, the number of employed persons has increased for Q2, wherein two of the months of the forecast period have been included (June and July 2014). Regarding the group of districts where businesses expect more insignificant improvement of employment, the figures are varying, and twelve districts have reported a decreased number of employed persons for the same period of time, and seven of them – growth.
The data on the number of employed persons for the first half of 2014 and the increasingly favourable attitude of businesses to open jobs have supported the forecasts that this year would probably be the best one for the labour market since the beginning of the economic recovery. Although the bigger improvement is expected to happen in the southern part of Bulgaria, enhancement of the economic activity has already been observed also in some northern districts such as Gabrovo, Dobrich and Varna. Opportunities that the employment rate in some districts should reach and even exceed the pre-crisis levels thereof in 2014 and 2015 have increased despite the political crisis in Bulgaria. The labour market’s recovery, at least at this stage, seems to have been achieved not by means of policies implemented nationally and locally, but despite them.
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