Friday, February 21, 2020

Hidden Unemployment Up Sharply in Russia Despite Moscow’s Claims, Adding to Public Fears

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 14 – Even as Moscow claims that the share of Russians officially registered as unemployed is at historic lows, the number of Russians who do not have work or are not fully employed as grown sharply, with a minimum of 2.5 times as many of the latter as the former, according to Sberbank figures.

            Thus, while Moscow says that only 4.6 percent of Russians are unemployed, the bank says that even among the middle class, whose members are likely to be employed more than poorer groups, 11.9 percent did not have jobs as of December 2019 (

            Not only is that latter figure high, but it has increased by a full percentage point over the previous year, the bank says.  And experts like Anna Bodrova of the Alpari analytic center say that in fact Russia is now suffering from a large amount of “hidden unemployment,” with many counted as having jobs in fact not receiving any income.

            Falling into this category is one of the top three fears Russians have with corruption and inflation being the other two, according to VTsIOM.  And that fear has risen over the last year because fewer new job openings were announced last year after there had been a rise in that statistic over the previous two years.

            The Center for Macro-Economic Analysis and Short-Term Predictions says that the actual number of Russians with jobs at the end of 2019 was 72.3 million, the same number as in early 2017 when the economy began to come out of recession (

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