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2008 marked a record high in Bulgarian economic growth. After five years of growth of over 5%, GDP growth reached 6% in 2008, boosting labour demand. Unemployment fell to 6.3%, a 16‐year low, while average nominal wages increased by 10.7%. At the same time, the main receiving countries for Bulgarian migrants were already suffering from the economic crisis, and total emigration from Bulgaria decreased in 2008 compared to the previous year. The Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy estimates that about 10 000 Bulgarians emigrated in 2008. This figure seems to be an underestimate, since widespread short‐term migration is not captured in statistics. Data from receiving countries, however, confirm the decreasing trend. Flows to Spain, which remains the most important destination country for Bulgarian migrants, dropped from about 31 330 in 2007 to about 13 100 in 2008. Outflows to Germany, the second destination country, remained stable. Greece remained the third place destination country for Bulgarians. The USA also represents a traditional destination, and flows were again about 3 500, largely through the Diversity Visa ("Green Card lottery").
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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