minister Yesayan says unemployment and poverty
are "the same".
Neighbors near Lusine Manukyan hardly notice
when an ambulance comes into the yard. Emergency
service has been called several times for her
and each time the same diagnosis:
"You are completely healthy," doctors
Still, the 24-year old has shortness of breath,
choking, spasms and an urge to simply scream at
the anxiety that makes her anything but "healthy".
The young woman suffers from attacks of stress,
related, she believes to her inability to find
She has been perennially depressed and was given
sedatives by a specialist who told her to forget
about finding a job.
"I'm a nurse by profession," says Lusine,
a resident of Echmiatsin. "However, I couldn't
find a job in this field. Later I changed several
professions, however, everything was futile. As
a result I have only raw nerves and the years
I spent in the institute are in vain. Now I don't
know what to do, how to find my place in the world
and not to think about searching for a job and
According to statistical data of the Employment
Department of the Ministry of Social Security,
in 2002-2003 officially the unemployment rate
is nine percent in Armenia. But a mere glance
at the idle masses crowding street corners, sitting
on benches or in cafes simply doing nothing during
business hours is enough evidence that plenty
more than nine out of every 100 are jobless.
Social welfare specialists say statistics don't
correspond with reality because the official number
only represents those who apply to the government
for unemployment benefits.
Depending on prior length of service, an unemployed
person is entitled to an average government allowance
of 3,900 drams (about $6.70) per month for from
five months to one year.
"For Armenians unemployment and poverty
is the same," says first deputy minister
of Social Security Ashot Yesayan. "Before,
during Soviet times, there almost wasn't such
a problem, however, these days together with changes
of life this problem arises."
According to official statistics, currently about
175,000 unemployed are registered in Armenia.
They found themselves in such a state as a result
of the collapse of USSR, new life requirements,
necessity of new professions and a number of other
One of the main reasons of unemployment is that
some professions that prospered in the previous
system are no longer required in independent Armenia.
Yesayan says some of the younger generation of
workers have prepared themselves for the new reality
and that their preparation "has already born
Economist Hovhanes Apresyan says that one of
the reasons of unemployment is low salaries.
"After graduating young people who had been
studying in institutions of higher education for
years can be valued and, at most, offered a job
in some state institution where salaries are extremely
low and don't satisfy even expenses for transportation.
That's why many people try to find different ways."
"The different way is emigration and search
for work abroad," says 65 year old Margusha
Avanesyan. "My children left their native
land by turns for finding work. Two of them live
in Russia with their families and one lives in
Germany. But the saddest is that many young people
think about work abroad instead of brightening
Specialists at the Ministry of Social Security
say there is a demand for labor power in the employment
market while thousands of specialists and people
with higher education don't know where and how
find a job.
"I've been looking for work for several
years," says Emma Hakobyan, who is a philologist
by profession, "however, there was nothing."
She says the private employment agencies which
have appeared during the last few years, mainly
offer work in the sector of trade and service
such as waiter, salesman and in state institutions
there are practically no places for work.
"Creation of jobs is one of the main issues
of pre-election campaigns of the presidential
and parliamentary elections," says Lusine
Manukyan. "However, there are no results.
Now I'm looking for a profession which maybe will
make my stay in Armenia possible and allow me
to work here. I don't want to emigrate as dozens
of my friends and relatives did. I am sure that
I can be useful here."