The general situation of the crisis is characterized by a rapid growth of the unemployment against the background of the decrease of the level of wages. In the 1st quarter the number of the employed in the economy reduced by approximately 2.2 million of people as compared with the corresponding period of the previous year and made 67.6 million of people. The total number of the unemployed classified in accordance with the methodology of the International Labor Organization made 7.1 million of people in the 1st quarter of 2009 or 9.5% of the economically active population. The number of the officially registered unemployed in the state employment services made 2177 thousand of people in the 1st quarter of 2009, having increased by 930 thousand of people as compared with the 3rd quarter 2008.
The situation at the labor market is aggravated by the influence of such negative factors as low interprofessional mobility, contraction of the possibilities for secondary and informal employment. Besides, a part-time employment has been increasing because of the employees being transferred to the regime of part-time employment and forced holidays.
According to the data of the monitoring conducted by the Ministry for Health Care and Social Development of the Russian Federation, just over the period from February, 26 to march 4, 2009 more than 4400 declared a part of their employees being transferred to the regime of part-time employment, and forced holidays. The total number of such employees made 1072.1 thousand of people. The alternative for the employment is the registered unemployment. Taking into account the increase in the maximum value of the unemployment benefit, a part of the unemployed employees leave the labor market. As a result of the 1st quarter of the current year the level of the registered unemployment made 2.9% against 2.7% in February and 2.3% in January. In the 1st quarter 2009 1.9 million of people received the unemployment benefit.
The tension coefficient (number of unemployed citizens registered at the state employment services per one vacant post) has increase from 1.5 in February 2008 to 2.7 in February of the current year. The demand for the employees declared by the employers to the state employment services reduced by 289 thousand of people by the end of February as compared with the similar month of the last year, the number of vacant positions being 875 thousand of people at the end of February 2009.
REAL ECONOMY SECTOR: TRENDS AND FACTORS Under existing trends the Ministry for Economic Development corrected the forecast figures for 2009: the volume of the industrial production is estimated to be at the level of 89.9% of the figure of 2008, the investments in fixed assets – 78.9%. under such conditions the GDP will reduce by 6.0% as compared with 2008. The forecast for the growth of prices remains at 13%.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES RUSSIAN INDUSTRY IN APRIL S.Tsukhlo Stabilization of the rates of demand and output increase disappointed the industry. The hopes for quick stabilization were not justified – the industry is again getting ready for the increase in the demand and output growth rates and the decrease of sales prices. The emotional reaction after the harsh landing of the first months of the crisis is replaced by sober judgment and attempts to forecast the “life after the crisis. In April credits availability has grown and the capacity to pay for them – lowered.
March Statistics Data of the Federal State Statistics Service again do not allow estimating the dynamics of the Russian industry. On the one hand, in March 2009 there was 13.9% less production made than in March 2008 but in February the result was a bit better: the decrease on the previous year made 13.2%. However the difference in the number of working days and the fact that 2008 was a leap year complicate the comparison. Another problem is the “effect of the base”: in March 2008 the production increased by 6.4% versus the growth of 3.2% in February 2008. In March of the current year, according to the calculations of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting (CMASTF), the decrease in the index of average daily production was 16.9%. In February 2009 the decrease was equal to 16.1%. The recession has obviously deepened. On the other hand, exclusion of the effect of the base made CMASTF estimate the decrease in the average daily production index to be 14.4% in March 2009. This means that the recession has alleviated as compared with February.
Exclusion of the seasonal and calendar factors made by CMASTF demonstrates the growth of production in March by 1% versus February 2009. And in February the production went up by 3.8% as on January. Thus, the conclusion of the experts is that the recovery of the production volumes continued in March though it was weaker than in February.
Demand: Factors, Forecast and Satisfaction The decrease in the demand for the industrial production in April continued, but with less intensity than in March. The improvement of the sales decrease rates (according to the initial data) made 5 points (improvement of 7 points in March and of 32 points in February). The change in the dynamics of sales occurred due to the reduction in the proportion of the answers “decreased” and the corresponding growth of the answers “did not change”.
Whereas in February the proportion of the latter responses was 45%, in April it went up to 55%. Before the crisis this index fluctuated within 60-65%, and the crisis minimum is 30% (December 2008). Only 12% of enterprises report on the growth of production in February-April. However the exclusion of the seasonality demonstrates the stabilization of the demand decrease rates in four last months. In other words, since January the sales of the industrial goods has been decreasing at the constant rate – there have been no changes (either positive or negative), despite the calls and actions of the government to stimulate the demand. However the stabilization of the situation can itself be regarded as a success under the existing conditions.
At the level of the branches of the industry the positive trends in sales dynamics were registered (after exclusion of seasonality) only in chemistry industry, where the decrease RUSSIAN INDUSTRY IN APRIL in the demand ceased in April. In other sectors the reduction goes on, and is most intensive in the industry of construction materials production, foodstuffs production and machinebuilding industry.
The forecasts for the changes in the demand returned to the level of December-January.
The industry has lost the hope to slow-down the decrease in sales, which evolved in February-March, and is again getting ready for the rise in demand contraction rates.
The lack of appreciable progress in the dynamics of sales and the growth of pessimism in the forecasts made the enterprises correct their estimations for the satisfaction with the volumes. In April the proportion of the responses “normal” reduced by 5 points at once after the stabilization at the level of 23% during four previous months. As a resulting April the satisfaction with the demand dropped to the figures which have been the worst since March 1999. This is primarily due to the metallurgy industry (decrease of 16 points), foodstuffs industry (of 9 points) and the machine-building industry (6 points).
Output and Prices In April initial (before the exclusion of seasonality) data demonstrated the slow-down in the growth of output to +1 balance points versus +11 in March. The exclusion of seasonality (and, consequently, obtaining of the figures compared by the time) demonstrates the stabilization of the production decrease rates at practically the same level (-17..-15) since January. Thus, the intensity of the changes in the output, as well as that of the demand has not been subjected to significant changes since the beginning of the year.
On the whole the industry quite distinctly connects the changes in its production to the changes in the demand. At microlevel the production followed the demand most closely in November-December 2008. Then 80% of the enterprises reported the same dynamics of production and demand. There has not been such a close connection between the demand and the output since the start of the monitoring in 1993. by April 2009 the figure lowered to 62%, which is even worse than the average figure for the pre-crisis a year and a half. The proportion of the enterprises at which the changes in the output anticipates the changes in the demand has increased from 15% in November 2008 to 30% in April 2009. it seems that the industry has counted on making a quick way out of the drop at the end of and started to increase the production in advance, which was a mistake.
The change in the enterprises’ production plans testifies this thesis. In April the industry significantly corrected the production plans for the next two months: the supposed rate of the decrease in the production worsened by 7 points at once and returned to the level of December-January. Microcalculations demonstrate that the euphoria of two preceding months, which resulted in the gap between the production plans and the demand forecasts, is disappearing. In April 77% of the enterprises planned their output in accordance with the demand forecasts. There were only 72% of such in April. The highest coincidence of the supposed changed in the demand and the output for the whole period of the monitoring (88%) was also registered in December 2008.
Absence of positive trends in the dynamics of the demand makes the enterprises again turn to the price tools in the competition for customers. In April the industry decreased the prices at the same rate as in January 2009. The biggest drop of the sales prices was registered in ferrous metallurgy, industry of construction materials, machine-building and foodstuffs production.
Price plans of the enterprises also were considerably corrected in April. After 2 months of hopes for the increase in prices the enterprises had to plan their decrease or slower growth. Such a reconsideration of the price policy did not occur only in chemistry industry, machine-building and timber industry.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY: TRENDS AND PERSPECTIVES Obstacles for Industrial Growth The dynamics of obstacles for production growth in the Russian industry demonstrates that the emotional reaction of the first months of the crisis gives the way to the sober judgment and the attempts to forecast “the life after the crisis”. One can so interpret the absence of the growth or even the decrease in the frequency of citation of the crisis obstacles for the increase in the output and the stop of decreasing or even the increase in the frequency of non-crisis obstacles citation.
Low demand, which plummeted to the first place in the rating of obstacles in January 2009, did not change its limiting influence on the Russian industry and remained at the level of 67% of citations. Certainly it retained the first place and exceeded by more than two times the result of a year ago. Then the insufficient demand was considered an obstacle by 30% of enterprises. The second place, considerably behinds the leader, is shared by three obstacles: “uncertainty of the current economic situation and its prospects” (45% of citations), “lack of liquid funds” (44% in Aril, 45% in January 2009 and 50% in October 2008) and “low export demand” (42%, 35% and 22%, correspondingly). The liquid funds, which is the most popular (at least by the level of its discussion) of these obstacles, is now less worrying than a half a year ago, when the banks reduced dramatically the credits for the industry. The fifth place is held by the non-payments of consumers, cited at 38%. The influence of this obstacle also decreased over the past quarter. It is the ferrous metallurgy (454% of enterprises), machine-building (41%) and light industry (40%) that suffer most from this phenomenon, which was nearly forgotten in 2003-2008.
Russian non-crisis obstacles for the production growth (equipment, staff, problems with import) also stabilized after a sharp drop in October 2008 and January 2009. Now import is an obstacle for 15% of enterprises versus 13% in January 2009 and 31% in July (the latter figure being the absolute maximum). It is most frequently cited in the ferrous metallurgy (29%), foodstuffs production (24%) and machine-building industry (19%). The lack of equipment and staff prevents 13% of enterprises from increasing the output in the 2nd quarter of 2009. At the same time the shortage of machine tools and equipment was minimal (for the past ten years) in the 1st quarter of the current year (9%), while the frequency of citation of the shortage of staff decreased by only 3 points after the drop of points a quarter ago. The latter testifies that the industry seems to be busy with the problem of labor efficiency. In fact a year ago the labor efficiency was considered as low by 28% of enterprises, whole at present – by 54%. The figure has nearly doubled.
Stocks of Finished Products Estimations of stocks of finished goods worsened by 4 points in April and returned to the level of December-January, which have been the worst months of the crisis by this index.
The weakening of hopes to improve the dynamics of the sales and the sudden reconsideration of the production plans of enterprises have definitely affected this subjective but quite sensitive indicator of the situation. However, the worst estimations of the stocks during this crisis (27 points) are far from the maximum of the first half of 90-ies. In 1993-the industry let the excessive finished stocks plummet to 40-47 points but it has learned its lesson and decreased the level of the local maximum every sales crisis that followed. The industry derived the benefit from the lesson.
In April the worsening of the general estimations of finished stocks was mainly due to metallurgy, machine-building, industry of construction materials and foodstuffs industry.
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