Transition Report 2013 Stuck in transition?

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Facts at a glance

IN 27 countries out of 34 in the transition region GDP growth slowed in 2012.

ABOVE 20% Remittances as a share of GDP in Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Moldova.

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ABOVE 50% Youth unemployment rates in parts of south-eastern Europe.

ABOVE 15% Loss of foreign bank funding as a share of GDP in countries most affected by deleveraging since the third quarter of 2011.

Macroeconomic overview

Persistent high unemployment

Continuing high rates of unemployment – in double digits in most CEB and SEE countries – are mostly a legacy of deep recessions in 2008-09. Output remains below pre-crisis levels in six CEB countries (as well as in Ukraine) and the persistence of high unemployment reflects this incomplete recovery (see Chart M.4). As a consequence, long-term unemployment has risen steadily in all CEB countries, Bulgaria and Romania – potentially resulting in declining labour-force participation and a loss of skills. Unemployment has been falling in the Baltic states – albeit from very high levels – but has increased in Croatia and Slovenia as their economies have re-entered recession, and has also risen in Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. Insufficient job creation is a long-term structural problem in SEMED countries that has become particularly pressing amid political unrest in recent years.

Chart M.4

Source: National authorities via CEIC Data and IMF WEO database.
Note: The chart shows the ratio of real GDP in 2012 to real GDP in 2007 and the ratio of the unemployment rate in 2012 to the unemployment rate in 2007. Unemployment rates are end-of-period.

Most transition countries continue to see high levels of youth unemployment. In several western Balkan states youth unemployment rates are in the region of 50 per cent or higher, in line with the most extreme cases in the eurozone periphery (namely Greece and Spain; see Chart M.5). Youth unemployment is also a concern in some CEB and SEMED countries, as well as in Armenia and Georgia. In the SEMED region the problem is magnified by demographics, as young people account for a large and rising share of the population (see Box S.1).

Chart M.5
Youth unemployment in SEE, the Caucasus, SEMED and the eurozone periphery
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Source: National authorities, Eurostat, World Bank Development Indicators and International Labour Organization.
Note: The chart is based on the latest available data for the youth unemployment rate, defined as unemployment among individuals aged 15-24. No estimates are available for Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan. For country legends see the regional map in the Country Assessments section of the online Transition Report, at