Thursday 17 January 2019 | 17:38

Uladzimir Kavalkin: Statistics on unemployment and real unemployment are poles apart in Belarus

06.09.2016  |  Economy   |  Piotr Kuchta,  EuroBelarus
Uladzimir Kavalkin: Statistics on unemployment and real unemployment are poles apart in Belarus

Officially, the unemployment in our country is reducing – if judging by the number of registrations at the labor exchange; however, the number of jobs doesn’t increase in the economy.

Thus, according to official statistics, the number of the unemployed decreases in our country – for the three months in a row the number of registered at the labor exchange has been falling. So, in July, the official unemployment has decreased by 2.5 thousand in total, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security; whereas as of August 1, there were 44.9 thousand unemployed (which makes 1% of the economically active population). As of May 1, 2016 the labor exchange counted 53.8 thousand unemployed, while a year ago 46.6 thousand people have been registered, which means that over the crisis year the number of the unemployed decreased by 3.7%.

Speaking about yet another Belarusian economic paradox in the interview with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service, Uladzimir Kavalkin, an expert on the problem of state service reform and the head of the “Cost of government” project within the BIPART project stresses that when analyzing the labor market, “it’s extremely hard to rely on the official statistics on unemployment.” "Given that only the very small proportion of the working population enrolls on the labor exchange, even minor factors can greatly distort the statistics," - Uladzimir Kavalkin said.

According to the expert, the increased registration at the labor exchange is primarily connected with the Decree "On prevention of social dependency", better known as the "decree on freeloaders." "It was easier to go to the labor exchange and get the legal right not to pay the so-called" tax on freeloaders”, which makes a little over two hundred dollars, - Uladzimir Kavalkin said. - People just tried to avoid paying this fee."

“It’s much more important to look at the dynamics of the reduction of number of jobs in the Belarusian economy, - Uladzimir Kavalkin notes. – And this dynamics is very worrying: the economy has lost 153 thousand jobs from January 1, 2015 until May 1, 2016. This decline can indeed demonstrate that the demand for labor falls, which leads to an increase in real unemployment."

The role of the state in helping the unemployed is so little, that the labor market becomes the last place where the unemployed would go, the expert believes. "Firstly, the unemployment benefit is one of the lowest among the CI: in June the allowance amounted to slightly more than $13 a month, which is too little to survive. In addition, those who are registered at the labor exchange are sometimes forced to do public works in construction, cleaning, gathering in the harvest on at collective farms. It is clear that it is better to be employed as a janitor and get low salary that to get such allowance. Another well-known factor is that it’s impossible for a qualified employee to find a decent job through the official labor exchange. These are the factors that lead to a positive official statistics on unemployment,"- Uladzimir Kavalkin said.

However, it is possible that in the near future the popularity of the labor exchanges will greatly increase. The International Monetary Fund and the Eurasian Development Bank, the main creditors of Belarus are constantly talking about the need to increase the unemployment benefit. The Belarusian government does not exclude that the benefit may even reach the cost of living, which now makes about $89 a month. But the right to such an allowance will only be available to those who have lost their jobs because of the company's liquidation.

According to the Belarusian experts, the real unemployment rate in Belarus is not less than 5% of the economically active population.

Other news section «Economy»

Leanid Zaika: Minsk decided to beat the Kremlin by Iranian oil
Leanid Zaika: Minsk decided to beat the Kremlin by Iranian oil
There are no strategic goals behind the purchase of Iranian oil, believes economist Leanid Zaika.
Stanislau Bagdankevich: The living standard will continue to fall in 2017, and possibly in 2018
Stanislau Bagdankevich: The living standard will continue to fall in 2017, and possibly in 2018
In 2017, Belarus will have to pay about $ 5 billion debts, which may affect the level of welfare negatively.
Leu Margolin: Industry cannot rise from its knees
Leu Margolin: Industry cannot rise from its knees
Although 30 percent of Belarusian enterprises can still be revived through urgent structural reforms.
Stanislau Bagdankevich: Next year will be harsh
Stanislau Bagdankevich: Next year will be harsh
Stagnation will continue in 2017, the standard of living will not rise, and the banking system may experience a crisis.
Andrei Yeliseyeu: Russia cannot impose quotas on the Belarusian dairy products supply
Andrei Yeliseyeu: Russia cannot impose quotas on the Belarusian dairy products supply
Belarus has already agreed to reduce the level of state support to agricultural producers in the framework of the Eurasian agreements.  
Leu Margolin: It is impossible to bring back the 500 dollars salary
Leu Margolin: It is impossible to bring back the 500 dollars salary
The authorities will start pressuring businesses to make them raise salaries.
Uladzimir Kavalkin: Drop in income? Salaries are finally becoming adequate to the economy state
Uladzimir Kavalkin: Drop in income? Salaries are finally becoming adequate to the economy state
Income may drop even a little bit more, but it will not be anything dramatic - within a few percent, expert believes.
Leu Marholin: In 2017, the probability of economic growth is close to zero
Leu Marholin: In 2017, the probability of economic growth is close to zero
In 2016, Belarusian authorities were expecting growth, too. However, the economy is going down.
EBRD will prepare five state companies for privatization
EBRD will prepare five state companies for privatization
The Belarusian government has invited the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to prepare five large state-owned companies for privatization.
 Leu Marholin: We are heading full speed to the new nineties
 Leu Marholin: We are heading full speed to the new nineties
Regression of the Belarusian economy combined with the inertness of the government will make us recall the worst years.  
Uladzimir Kavalkin: Statistics on unemployment and real unemployment are poles apart in Belarus
Uladzimir Kavalkin: Statistics on unemployment and real unemployment are poles apart in Belarus
Officially, the unemployment in our country is reducing – if judging by the number of registrations at the labor exchange; however, the number of jobs doesn’t increase in the economy.
Leanid Zaika: Decline in prices on gas should lead to the reduction in utility costs
Leanid Zaika: Decline in prices on gas should lead to the reduction in utility costs
In the situation of cheaper prices on gas Lukashenka's decree on non-cash housing subsidies looks weird.
Point of view: Defence industry in Belarus evolved from helpless to a weighty branch of economy
Point of view: Defence industry in Belarus evolved from helpless to a weighty branch of economy
Recently Belarus State Military Industrial Committee announced that in the first half of 2016 its enterprises earned a net profit of $80m, thus over-fulfilling the assigned export plans by a quarter.
Leu Marholin: It looks like the Belarusian PM has got a fortuneteller
Leu Marholin: It looks like the Belarusian PM has got a fortuneteller
The fall of the economy will continue in 2016; we should hardly expect growth in 2017.
Why with the success abroad, Belarus’ agriculture keeps failing at home?
Why with the success abroad, Belarus’ agriculture keeps failing at home?
Poor economic conditions in the countryside, restrictions, unfair competition, inefficiency of state-owned agricultural enterprises also contribute to this ‘success story’, writes Aliaksandr Filipau.
Viktar Marhelau: We killed consumer demand inside the country
Viktar Marhelau: We killed consumer demand inside the country
In the situation of everyone’s impoverishment administrative procedures are now being perceived painfully.
Opinion: The question of what role China can play in Belarusian development remains open
Opinion: The question of what role China can play in Belarusian development remains open
On 20 June Lukashenka met with vice-chair and president of the Chinese CITIC Group Corporation Wang Jiong; it seems especially important in light of Lukashenka’s planned visit to China in September.
Lukashenka: Only lazy people don
Lukashenka: Only lazy people don't earn well in Belarus
All the conditions for everyone to be able to earn a decent salary have been enabled in Belarus, however, it is necessary to make some effort to get the money, assumes the president.
Leanid Zlotnikau: The government knows what to do with the economy, but will do nothing
Leanid Zlotnikau: The government knows what to do with the economy, but will do nothing
Belarus is losing currency earnings – in the 6 months of 2016 the country earned 3 billion less than in the same period in 2015. Instead of removing the causes of the flop the state relies on magic.
Russia
Russia's Rosatom agreed to replace reactor vessel at Belarus NPP
State Corporation Rosatom has agreed to replace reactor vessel at the Astravets NPP in Belarus.
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

"Vilnius Consultations": Key points and recommendations on the future of EU Eastern Partnership

On September 11, the inaugural „Vilnius Consultations“ conference was organized by Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis and Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Belarus's Lukashenko alleges “fifth column” plot as unrest continues

Belarusan President Lukashenko said on Tuesday a “fifth column” was plotting to overthrow him with the help of foreign-backed fighters, days before a planned street protest in Minsk against a new tax.

The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations

What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?