“Several tens of thousands… mostly young people” do not emigrate from this country annually
The president of the Young Forces Union of VMRO-DPMNE, Jovan Jauleski, gave a statement to the media which we deem false:
SDSM in the last two years did nothing essential to keep the young people in this country. There is no project or measure for two years, and now, when thousands of young people have emigrated from this country, they propose a project called youth card, which, instead of benefits, offers minimal discounts in expensive restaurants.
Crowded buses, both from the interior (of the country) and from Skopje, leave the Republic of Macedonia on a daily basis. Schools are being emptied and the embassies in Western Europe are issuing tens of thousands of work visas to our citizens, mostly young people deciding to work and live outside the country.
This is the reality – queues in front of embassies, empty schools and crowded busses heading to Western Europe. This is the epilogue from the governance of SDSM.
Darko Kaevski (Head of the Sports and Youth Agency) and Zoran Zaev are guilty for the hardships young people go through. Due to incompetence and non-functioning of the Government, the unemployment of the youth in Macedonia is the highest in the region and in Europe.
[Announcement: 24 Инфо, date: 10.06.2019]
This statement by Jauleski, beside being false, in some parts is also contradictory and inconsistent. Let us first explain these two claims. In the first part of the statement, he says that “thousands of young people” have emigrated, and later on he continues “our citizens, mostly young people” have received “several tens of thousands of work visas” from the embassies in Western Europe. “Thousands of young people” and “tens of thousands” is not the same. Not nearly the same. This indicates that his statement is a result of personal (or party) impressions or conscious manipulation and not a data-based conclusion.
Furthermore, it is incorrect and inconsistent to say that “the unemployment of the young in Macedonia is the highest in the region and in Europe”. First of all, this is false. Youth unemployment in our country in the previous year was over 46%, and in Kosovo was 57%. Secondly, as can be seen from the chart in the previous link, in the past two years, youth unemployment in the country has declined and its levels were much higher when VMRO-DPMNE was in power.
Let us return to the statement about the tens of thousands work visas that allegedly have been issued to Macedonian citizens only in the embassies of the countries in Western Europe, resulting in the emigration of “tens of thousands (…), mostly young people deciding to work and live outside the country.”
The numbers of how many of our fellow citizens decide to live and work abroad are unknown. The number of individuals reporting their departure to the competent authorities is very low and that figure is unreliable.
However, there are number of other indicators, above all, in the areas of education and economy, which could clearly show if such a statement was true.
First of all, since the statement refers to a period of two years, that is the period of rule of the present government, let’s say that about 60.000 people have emigrated from the country, that is 30.000 per year, which is the lowest figure that can be marked with the phrase “several tens of thousands”. But this figure is enormous for a country like North Macedonia. It represents 3% of the total population of about 2 million inhabitants according to the 2002 census or 6.7% of about 900 thousand people – the total working population in the country. This also means that every 15th citizen, able to work, has emigrated from this country in the past two years. Such large numbers of people allegedly emigrating from the country would have had an effect on the national economy, as well as on the figures in the educational process.
If such statements were true, the number of enrolled students in the academic year 2015/2016 should be significantly higher than the academic year 2017/2018. From these 60.000 “mostly young people” a significant part, at least 20-30%, had to be students who left their studies to work abroad. But the numbers do not demonstrate such a thing. The drop in the number of enrolled students between the academic year 2015/2016 and 2017/2018 is 4,9% or 2,45% per year. These numbers are within the normal fluctuations of enrolled students – around one to two thousand per year. For example, in 2017/2018 56,941 students were enrolled. This number is almost the same as in 2012/2013 – 56,906 students. If it’s true that in the last two years 60,000 “mostly young people” emigrated from this country, or that the embassies from the countries in Western Europe issued “several tens of thousands of work visas per year”, then the number of students enrolled in the academic year 2017/2018 should have been much lower than the number in 2012/2013.
The same applies to the elementary schools which allegedly are being emptied. Namely, it is true that year by year the number of enrolled students in elementary schools declines by about 4,000 students a year (235,691 students enrolled in elementary school in 2005/6 against only 192,165 students in 2014/15). However, if it is true that at least 30.000 people have emigrated in the last year, then this number should be lower. Namely, some of these “several tens of thousands” people would certainly have children enrolled in schools, which means that they would take their children with them. But, the data of enrolled students in elementary schools in the past three academic years, since SDSM assumed power, compared to the academic 2015/16, before SDSM, does not show that. Moreover, the number of students enrolled in elementary schools varies from almost 186 thousand to under 193 thousand – fluctuation of several thousand students with no upward or downward trend.
Academic year Enrolled students (elementary schools)
Source: state statistics
Similar conclusions can be drawn from the economic indicators. For example, if we look at the most important economic indicator – gross domestic product (GDP – the one showing the growth of the whole economy) should demonstrate a decrease of at least 5 to 10% for the previous two years, which would certainly happen to every economy that has lost 3% of the overall population, and not any population, but the most productive segment – people that work or are looking for a job and people that support other individuals (children, parents, spouses). If 60,000 work-force individuals represent 3% of the overall population, they, at the same time represent 6,7% of the working population. It is almost impossible that a country that lost every 15th working individual in a period of two years could pass those two years without a serious decline in the GDP. As it is known, the Macedonian GDP is not declining, but it is on the rise – 0.2% for two years ago, while recovering from the political crisis in the previous three years and 2.7% last year after the crisis ended.
Furthermore, it is impossible for an emigration of “several tens of thousands” of people annually not to be reflected on the number of the working population and on the overall number of employed and the ones in search of jobs. But, this number is not decreasing and according to what Jauleski says it should be because “several tens of thousands of work visas” have been given to “mainly young people”. On the contrary, this number is rising. The overall working (or active) population, according to the survey from the state statistics conducted at the end of the first quarter of this year is 960,743 individuals contrary to the number of the first quarter in 2017 (last quarter when VMRO-DPMNE was in power) – 952,644 individuals.
The situation is similar with the real estate prices. If so many people emigrated in the last two years, and if these are “mainly young people” in need to resolve their housing issue, then this should lead to a large number of unsold apartments and lower prices. This is not the case. The property price index (put out by the Central bank) varies between 89 and 95 in the past two years without a clear upward or downward trend and is between 4 and 11 points lower than the base index 100 for 2010. Such movement of this index does not differ from the 2013-16 period when it ranged between 90 and 96 index points. This shows that there is no price decline, which would be inevitable if in two years at least 60.000 people or “several tens of thousands” emigrated from the country.
There are many other indicators, which would have to act in a certain way if the above statement was true. One of the many would be the wages, for example, which would have to increase significantly if suddenly every 15th person belonging to the country’s work force is gone. That also didn’t happen.
Having all this in mind, we deem the statement of the President of the Youth Forces Union of VMRO-DPMNE false.
NBRM – Индексот на цените на недвижностите – Basic economic indicators (GDP) [Accessed on: 11.06.2019]
State Statistics Office – Активно население [Accessed on: 11.06.2019]
State Statistics Office – Број на запишани студенти на македонските универзитети по години [Accessed on: 11.06.2019]
State Statistics Office – Број на запишани ученици во основните училишта [Accessed on: 11.06.2019]
Assessed by: Vladimir Petreski