How did Plovdiv Become the Economic Tiger of Bulgaria?
With the attraction of a number of foreign investors and the opening of new productions, Plovdiv has become one of the most important economic centers in the country. This is reflected in the fact that, in 2016, the area around the City under the hills has reported a 10% growth in GDP per capita. In the same year, salaries there grew by 9% and in 2017 earnings increased significantly by 16%, according to the Institute for Market Economics (IME) in the study of Regional Profiles: Development Indicators for 2018. In the analysis Plovdiv region is referred to as a "regional tiger", which has managed to outperform a number of other regional centers.
"Gross domestic product per capita in the Plovdiv region continues to grow in 2016 and remains the sixth highest in the country, and its growth is above the average for the country, despite the relatively high base." The rapid growth is accompanied by a relatively large wage and income increases in the area, "IME said.
In 2016 Plovdiv ranked sixth in the country and by the amount of the gross annual salary - 9911 leva. "Household income in the Plovdiv district for the first time in 2017 exceeds BGN 5,000, although it remains lower than the average in the country," the report said. The document adds that after a slowdown in economic activity in the region in 2017, it reported a steady growth of 74% at 71% for the country. "This growth is accompanied by a rise in employment to record levels and a significant reduction in unemployment," the experts said.
The capital attracts threefold higher foreign investment
Sofia remains the region, which outpaces the rest of the country by income and standard of living. Meanwhile, foreign investments in Sofia are three times higher than those at national level. "Gross domestic product continues to grow in 2016 and reaches BGN 28,465 per capita at BGN 13,206 per person in the country." The wages and incomes of households are also rising and remain the highest in the country ", according to the calculations in the document. "In 2016, the average gross monthly salary reached BGN 15,658, compared to BGN 11,379, the average salary in the country was 8% higher than in the previous year."
For the fifth consecutive year in 2016, the number of businesses in the capital increased to 88 per 1,000 of the population, with 57 per 1000 people in the country. "Foreign investments are three times higher - 9,226 euros per person at 3,310 euros per person in the country by the end of 2016," the document says.
How do other areas in the country do? IME experts report that, despite tangible economic growth for the period between 2016 and 2017, there are still large differences between regions and regions across the country. Thus, some areas report "visibly faster growth rates" than others. Apart from the capital and Plovdiv among other places with a relatively high GDP growth per capita in 2016 are also Burgas and Stara Zagora as well as Pernik, Lovech, Targovishte, Razgrad and Gabrovo. Growth in income and consumption has led to improvements in almost all areas of the main indicator of absolute poverty - the share of people living in material deprivation.
"Good economic growth went hand in hand with a strong labor market in most areas, and more than 2017 saw record employment rates among the busiest population, at 15-64, in most areas, with about 70% employment the population at the age of 15-64 on average for the country, as in the strongest economic centers - the districts of Sofia, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora already exceed 70%, "the document says. IMEs report that unemployment in most areas of the country is approaching historically low levels since 2008. The difference, however, is serious between the North and South of Bulgaria, with most places with significantly higher unemployment being in the northern part of the country. Over 10 per cent remain in Vidin, Vratsa, Pleven, Silistra, Targovishte and Shumen. Exceptions in southern Bulgaria are the regions of Sliven and Smolyan.
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