Facts stronger than speculation

Labour and Social Protection Minister Marianna Shchetkina dispels rumours about tension in the employment sphere

By Vladimir Mikheev

“There is no tension on Belarus’ labour market. The situation is stable and manageable, with no grounds for concern regarding employment,” stresses the Minister. “519,000 able-bodied citizens are registered as unemployed (just to compare: in 2005, there were 842,000 such people). They fall into various categories: some are searching for a job independently without addressing labour, employment and social protection agencies, while others have seasonal employment. Others run private households or else have no desire or need to work. The figure is not critical, taking into account that 194,000 run their own private households. These are primarily women, who are bringing up their children.”

According to recent data, the unemployment level in Belarus in early May stood at 0.7 percent of the economically active population (1.2-1.5 percent is forecast for the end of 2011). Unemployment is 1 percent or less in 112 districts of the country’s 130 (there are 118 districts in all, plus 12 cities of regional subordination). 18 districts have a figure of 1.1 to 1.5 percent — all under forecast levels. Those districts and small towns with higher levels are receiving special attention from ministries and regional executive committees, with 27 small towns and 7 districts included on the State Population Employment Programme. Specific measures are planned for each, to reduce tension on the district labour market.

“Since 2009, working hours have been monitored fortnightly at the most problematic organisations of the Republic, in order to react promptly where needed,” stresses Mr. Shchetkina. “Certain companies are listed by local authorities, with the situation updated regularly.”

The official notes the positive trend observed in entrepreneurial development. In the first three months of 2011, three thousand more individual entrepreneurs were registered than in the same period of 2010. At present, about 300,000 work as private businessmen in the country.

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