• © Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Europress

    About the ILO in Bulgaria

    Slow growth, low incomes, high emigration rates

    After a lost decade of transition in the 1990s Bulgaria only made progress towards economic gains and shared prosperity in the 2000s based on growth rates of 6% per year. Some of these achievements were put at risk in the years after the Great Recession. Since 2015, the economy is again steadily growing at rates of close to 4 % per year. But the country is still lagging behind in terms of economic development. Income per capita is around 50% of the EU average, the lowest in the EU, while income inequality is the highest among all EU countries. The rate of people living in poverty remains very high, though it is declining (from 41% in 2015 to 33% in 2018). The high growth of recent years translated into improved labour market performance and rapid wage growth. Unemployment fell from its peaks in 2001 (20%) and 2013 (13%) to currently 5%. Long-term unemployment and the number of NEET (youth neither in employment, education or training) are also falling, both approaching EU averages. However, it should not be overseen that the relatively good labour market performance is also due to the demographic development of the country. Continue reading