Unemployment? What’s That?
After I wrote the last post, about Miri fetching a job at the hotel, I was wondering what we know about unemployment rates in Azerbaijan. This is a big deal after what we know about the world unemployment rates after the last year of crisis. Google came to the rescue to give me these numbers:
One problem is that everyone cites the CIA World Factbook when reporting these numbers. Their historical numbers look like this:
2003 – 16%
2004 – 1.1%
2005 – 1.2%
2006 – 1.1%
2007 – 1.2%
2008 – 1.0%
2009 – 0.8%
This is incredible. Just by some anecdotal evidence, there’s no way this can be the case. Just the sheer number of men standing around on the streets spitting sunflower seeds tells me that unemployment has to be much higher. And theoretically, an unemployment rate this low is impossible, due to frictional unemployment (people making choices, changing jobs, etc.) Where is the CIA World Factbook getting those numbers? And how is this estimate of 6% for 2009 credible?
Partially, I was curious because unemployment is always considered a big problem here. If it’s really a problem, then these numbers can’t be right. The other reason I was curious is that Miri managed to flag that job down in about a day. He’s good; but that good? I remember people telling me after I graduated from college that it takes a solid 3-6 months to find a real job. Azerbaijan just blew that out of the water.