April 27, 2009

Russian joblessness slowing

The speed at which Russia's jobless numbers are growing has eased off a bit, a Cabinet minister said Monday.

Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova said the number of out-of-work Russians and those facing the risk of layoffs fell in late March and into April, ITAR-TASS reported.

She said the current index of unemployed and those facing the possibility of losing their jobs had slipped to 0.5 percent, compared with 20-25 percent in January and February, the Russian news agency said.

We expect overall annual unemployment to be 7.8 million people, she said. "And we have not changed our forecast for registered unemployment -- 2.8 million.

We do not expect any dramatic outbreaks.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also said the numbers may indicate a ray of economic hope, ITAR-TASS said.

It is too early to make the final conclusions, but the analysis of the growth of unemployment shows that the situation is normalizing, although very slowly, Putin said.