Number of jobless surges

Painting by Dave Calver
Since September 2008, the number of unemployed in Russia has jumped by 1,100,000 according to Tatyana Golikova, the Minister of Public Health and Social Development.

This puts the total number of unemployed in Russia at 1,807,000. To better understand the employment problem confronting Russia – the number of jobless increased by 72,000 between February 3 and February 11 alone, from1,735,000 to 1,807,000.

Statistics released on January 21 showed that 1,550,000 people were registered as unemployed across the country.

Since October 2008, just as the global financial crisis was beginning to bare its teeth, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development has been conducting weekly monitoring of 21,033 enterprises across Russia, says Golikova.

The expected number of jobless in Russia tends to fluctuate. The Deputy Minister of Public Health and Social Development, Maxim Topilin, has predicted that by the end of 2009 seven million Russians could be without a job, while the Economic Development Ministry predicts the rate of unemployment in 2009 will be 7.5 per cent, with the total number of jobless at 5,500,000.

Currently, however, official unemployment is expected to level off at about 2,200,000, thus requiring an additional 34 billion roubles ($US 934 million) to support regional employment programmes and unemployment payments.

In December, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov declared that the government would allocate 43.7 billion roubles ($US 1.2 billion) to stabilise the labour markets. The money will be transferred to regional budgets, and the regional authorities will present the federal government their programmes for stimulating and supporting their labour markets.