The Ministry of Statistics and Analyse of Belarus said the unemployment rate in the country amounts to 1.1 per cent of economically stable population (last year unemployment level was 1.2 per cent). Independent experts think these figures are incorrect.
Economist Mikhail Zalesski is sure the official statistics manipulates the figures and colours the reality.
– The trick is in the definition of unemployment, – the economist says. – For example, an unemployed person in the U.S. is a person who has no stable earning during 5 days. In our country, an unemployed is a person who has registered for employment service.
Moreover, at least half a million of people, who didn’t find work in the country and have to work in neighbouring countries, are not taken into account in Belarus. About 160,000 workers, who had to take permanent vacations due to administration of idle plants, are not taken into consideration, too.
A list of unemployed can be enlarged with 50 thousand of individual entrepreneurs, who had to curtail their business due to express desire of the authorities to re-register them into private unitary enterprises.
I don’t speak about those, who don’t want register themselves for employment service for various reasons. There are at least 80-90 thousand of those people. They don’t want to be included into the list of “official unemployed” mainly because an average unemployment benefit amounts to BYR 49.4 thousand (about USD 23) for this February. Moreover, one should do public works, or in other words clean streets, to receive benefit.
If to remember that less than 4 million of people in Belarus can be referred to economically active citizens of working age, it’s easy to calculate the real unemployment rate in the country may amount to 15 -20 per cent.