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Background Study on Labour Market and Employment in Bulgaria

Beleva, Iskra and Tzanov, Vasil and Noncheva, Teodora and Zareva, Iren (1999): Background Study on Labour Market and Employment in Bulgaria.

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A factual and descriptive analysis of the employment situation in Bulgaria showed that the transition to a market economy has led to a substantial reduction of employment. The economic restructuring has begun in 1990 has proved very difficult, and the privatization of the large industrial enterprises faces problems mainly due to insufficient interest on the part of foreign investors. From 1990-1998 employment has decreased by one and one-half million people. The high labour supply is maintained by the restrictive incomes policy and enormous impoverishment of the population during the transition years due to high inflation and the economic recession in 1996. The unemployment rate is high: in 1993 it reached 21%; by 1998 it has decreased to 15.9%. Since 1996 a wide range of labour market policies have been introduced to stimulate employers to create new jobs and hire the unemployed, and to stimulate the unemployed to start their own businesses or to join labour integration programmes. The educational system has undergone substantial restructuring; the professional training and retraining has shown a good degree of adaptation. The industrial policy is oriented toward active participation of the state in investment activities to increase employment.

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