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Government to consider employment assistance programme January 23

In 2008 the measures need to be taken to ease the tension on the labour market of 23 small towns of Belarus, where the unemployment has been traditionally higher than the oblast-average rate. This is the goal set out in the Government employment assistance programme 2008.

The draft programme will be on the agenda of a session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers on January 22. The session will be chaired by Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky.

The Government employment assistance programme 2008 is based on the most important parameters and the socio-economic development forecast of the country for 2008. It takes into account the proposals of the national government bodies, oblast executive committees, associations of employers and trade unions, public associations of the disabled. The programme intends to increase the efficiency of the use of labour resources. By 2008, the volume of employment is projected to increase up to 4460-4535 thousand people from 4439,1 thousand as of November 2007. The employment is projected at 1.2-1.4% of the economically active population at the end of 2008.

Unemployment benefits, compensatory payments, financial assistance will be provided to 148,300 jobless people.

The demand for the workforce has been growing in Belarus. As of January 1, 2008 the labour, employment and social security agencies have received the information about 50,800 vacancies, or 13.3% up over 2006. The market mainly needs construction workers (bricklayers, tillers, adjusters, plasterers) and metalworking specialists (turners, millers, grinders). The demand for doctors, software engineers, building and design engineers is still rather high. At the same time getting a job is a problem for teachers, goods managers, lawyers and economists, especially for those who vocational education.

As of January 1, 2008 the unemployment rate was 44.1 thousand (84.7% of the unemployed as of January 1, 2007). The unemployment level remained within the socially acceptable bounds – 1% of the economically active population.

In January-November 2007 the jobless figures dropped in 87 out of 130 regions of the country. Small and medium-scale towns of Belarus saw the decline of the number of unemployed people by 2.9 thousand or by 20.7%. The unemployment rate decreased in 28 out of 29 small towns included into the governmental employment programme 2007. The job placement period reduced from 2,8 to 2,2 months.

Despite all the results the labour market remains misbalanced both structurally and territorially in terms of demand and supply. The problem of women’s and youth employment is still pressing. The disabled and people released from correctional facilities find it difficult to find a job as well.

The analysis shows that in 2008 the human resources will be reducing. Certain organisations will have extra labour forces, which will be much needed in the regional labour markets. The number of human resources will be decreasing due to the reduction of the able-bodied population in working years. Additional sources of growing unemployment will be economically non-active population, re-registration of individual entrepreneurs into private unitary enterprises and reorganisation of underperforming companies.

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