The period of the long-term calm on the labor market was over
Until recently the Belarusian labor market could be compared to an oasis of calm. The registered jobless rate was three times lower than the projections. The number of vacancies was two or three times bigger than the number of job seekers in Belarus in general and ten times bigger in Minsk. Some would even say that there is no need for employment services as those who want to work will be able to find a job easily having such a broad choice of vacancies… These people disregarded a simple fact: the labor market is a very volatile sector that promptly responds to any changes in the social and economic situation in the country and the neighboring states and is very sensitive to demographic trends. Indeed, it was too early to let our guard down: the period of the long-term calm on the labor market was over. However, there is no reason for panic. A storm is a very unlikely possibility as the sky is still clear. If needed, employment services will make use of the broad range of mechanisms they acquired over the 30 years of work.
It should be noted that a long period of stability coupled with an aggressive employment promotion policy has had a positive impact on the labor market and created a kind of safety cushion. The official unemployment rate remains low countrywide (at the end of 2014 it stood at 0.5% of economically active population, while the projections were 1.5%) and in all 129 districts of the country (only in one district the jobless rate exceeded 1.1%).
In 2014 the average period out of work reduced to 3.2 months (3.4 months in 2013). The unemployment period for women was 3.7 months, for men 2.9 months and for the youth 2.5 months. In 2014 the job hiring period was 1.4 months (1.7 months for women and 1.3 months for men and young people).
Last year 159,000 people were put into newly created jobs and vacancies. The youth employment was boosted by providing training in relevant professions, mostly upon requests of employers (a total of 9,200 people received professional training in 2014). Employment services helped 2,000 unemployed to start a business. However, it should be noted that the unemployed were not so eager to start their own business. At the same time, the unemployed are viewed as potential businessmen. Therefore, providing support to them is among the priorities of the country’s employment policy, because the promotion of small business means new jobs and more employment opportunities. In an effort to promote small business, employment services should team up with entrepreneurship support centers and business incubators. Last year 252 families, including 325 economically active persons and 190 children, were placed into jobs in the areas where labor force is scarce. The geographical redistribution of workforce based on the real demand for labor force and the higher mobility of rural population are important factors