The decision of the RF Government to protract the raising of tariffs (that used to take place in January) and thus to smoothen the usual surge of prices at the beginning of the year prevented the traditional rise of enterprises’ price projections at the end of the year. From the beginning of the second half of the year the balance of industrial price projections lost 17 points, from the start of the year – 40 points and was close to demonstrating the industry’s intention to refrain from raising prices at the stage of projections as well. Similar situation was earlier observed only in 1998 and 2008.
In November industrial enterprises attempted to reverse the downward trend in price growth for the second time since the start of the year. The first attempt was made in MayJuly. Then price growth rates stabilized at the level of 11 points after 4 months of lowering from the record 47 points (the highest indicator in the post-default period). In November the general balance experienced actually no change and remained in the zero area: factory prices neither grew, nor fell.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks In November price projections of enterprises were most seriously revised. While a month before growth expectations were minimal, at the end of the year industry planned to return to the sizable raising of prices. Within a month the balance of projections was up 9 points.
During almost all months of 2011 industrial enterprises pursued similar price policies of halting factory price growth after the January surge of this indicator that was due to both the man-made factors (the raising of unified social tax) and natural calamities (the drought of 2010). The combination of these two factors conditioned the soaring of price change balance up to the record level in January 2011. The end of the year was no less unique: in December 2011 enterprises shifted to quite an intensive lowering of their prices. Over the 17 years of monitoring a higher rate of decrease was observed only in December 2008 and in July 1998.
And one more remark: within the pre-crisis 2008 the balance fell by 56 points (the indicator of the crisis December being -24 balance points), in 2011 – by 55 points (the December indicator being -8 balance points).
4.2.4. Staff problems of Russian industry The dynamics of employment in Russian industry in 2011 experienced minimal state interference as regards both the prevention of dismissals at the stage of slowing recovery from the crisis and the provision of industry with personnel. In the situation of constant shortage of staff enterprises pursued cautious HR policies.
Last year the annual rates of employment change were close to zero, i.e. on the average the share of responses stating lay-off of employees was equal to the share of responses stating their hire. Similar result was obtained in 2010. In 2009 dismissals prevailed over hire by 23 p.p. But 2011 differs from all the previous crisis and inter-crises years by the maximum share of responses stating no change in the number of employed. This indicator reached 76% as compared with 73% in 2010. It was minimal (62%) in 2009 when dismissals in industry were most sizable over the whole period of monitoring actual employment in 2003-2011.
At the beginning of 2011 the number of employed in industry notably reduced. After 4 months of fluctuations around zero in late 2010, in January the initial (i.e. not adjusted for seasonality) balance of staff change lost 10 points and reached a 12-month minimum – enterprises carried out the most radical lay-offs (see Fig. 22). However, adjustment for seasonality reversed zero and negative balances into positive (i.e. industrial enterprises still hired staff).
Equal by importance but opposite by direction changes took place in HR projections of enterprises. In January the initial balance of employment projections increased by 16 points, became clearly positive and reached a crisis maximum. In other words, after 3 months of prevailing lay-off intentions enterprises planned to switch to the most intensive recruiting of personnel. Adjustment for seasonality revealed the highest optimism of recruitment projections in December 2010 and its slight decline in January 2011.
Industrial enterprises were impelled to intensively hire personnel in order to adjust employment to demand projections. At the beginning of the year the balance between these indicators once again (similar to mid-2010) became negative – enterprises felt short of employees for the expected growth of sales and output. Facility projections also supported hopes for the resumption of demand and output growth. In January 2011 after 3 quarters of stabilization (in 2010) the balance of these projections fell by 11 points and became zero – industry got rid of surplus facilities (so far – only as related to demand projections).
Section The Real Sector of the Economy PROJECTED % ACTUAL ---01/-1/05 1/06 1/07 1/08 1/09 1/10 1/11 1/Fig. 22. Change of employment (balance = % growth – % decrease) In February enterprises resumed hiring of personnel (as judged from initial data). However, seasonal adjustment reduced this indicator down to zero implying that the recruitment was not intensive enough when compared with previous years. Meantime, the initial HR projections for March-April reached a crisis maximum (i.e. the prevalence of hire intentions over lay-off intentions in industry had never been so convincing since the III quarter of 2008). Adjustment for seasonality lowered the post-crisis record but not much, leaving the early projections at one of the highest levels over this period (see Fig. 23). So, the high optimism of demand and output projections as well as the vanishing of labour surplus (however – only as related to demand projections) pushed up both the actual and the projected intensity of staff recruitment.
20,PROJECTED 10,0,-10,ACTUAL -20,-30,01/-40,Fig. 23. Change of employment adjusted for seasonality (balance = % growth – % decrease) The end of the I quarter was marked by record by its intensity hiring of personnel in Russian industry. In March its rate increased up to +17 balance points and reached the maximum % / / / / ///1/ 7/ 1/ 3/ 6/ 9/ 3/ 9/ 3/ 9/ RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks level of the last 4 years (!), i.e. such a massive recruitment had not been observed since the spring of 2007. Adjustment for seasonality lowered the initial result but not much, leaving it on the second place after an absolute post-crisis record of December 2010. So, in February enterprises made quite correct projections about the scale of personnel recruitment in March.
Then they amounted to +15 balance points and reached a crisis maximum.
In April the rates of hiring employees in industry fell (when adjusted for seasonality – down to zero) after being maximal in March. HR projections underwent similar adjustment. It seems that enterprises continued hiring labour as a reserve because of the fear (quite wellgrounded, by the way) to face a deficit of this input in case of sustainable growth of demand.
Shortage of personnel as related to demand projections had been registered in industry since the III quarter of 2010. In the II quarter of 2011 it was recorded in all branches except for the construction materials industry.
Since the II quarter of 2010 the shortage of personnel ranked third in the rating of constraints to industrial growth (as assessed by enterprises). Only insufficient demand and deficit of working capital were mentioned more often. In the II quarter of 2011 32% of enterprises considered shortage of personnel to be a hindrance to output growth. The crisis (2008) minimum of its mentioning was 14% registered in the II and the III quarters of 2009. The precrisis and absolute maximum equals 46% registered in the III quarter of 2008.
In May industry halted (according to the initial data) the hiring of personnel that went on in the previous 3 months. After being record in March, the rate of employment growth lost 15 points within 2 months and approached zero. Further adjustment for seasonality revealed an absolute reduction of the number of employed. However, as judged from HR projections, at that time Russian industrial enterprises did not intend to continue lay-offs. In May the initial balance of HR projections remained actually at the April level and when adjusted for seasonality even improved.
In June in response to larger sales industry resumed hiring personnel and continued it in July which could be due to the persisting shortage of workers. According to estimates of enterprises, in the III quarter of 2011 industry still experienced deficit of staff as related to demand projections. It was registered at 15% of enterprises versus surplus of labour at 8% thereof. Both figures were close to the post-crisis records. As a result their balance fell down to nearly a post-crisis minimum. But at the stage of recovery from the crisis most enterprises still managed to improve labour sufficiency as related to demand projections. In the III quarter of 2011 the share of enterprises with sufficient number of employees reached 78% which became an absolute record over the whole period of monitoring this indicator since 1996.
However, the deficit of personnel seems to have produced a positive effect on the Russian industry. Shortage of workers made enterprises improve the productivity of labour. In the middle of 2011 it was estimated as “normal” by already 70% of enterprises (see Fig. 24). The pre-crisis maximum equaled 65%, the crisis minimum – 44%. Fully satisfied with labour productivity were all enterprises in fuel industry and metallurgy, 86% - in chemical industry and 79% – in food industry. The lowest satisfaction with this indicator was noted in construction materials industry (49%), timber processing (55%) and consumer goods industry (56%). Such estimates of labour productivity by enterprises reduce the number of advocates of state industrial policies assessing its level as low and definitely requiring improvement.
Section The Real Sector of the Economy NORMAL 70 65 60 53 50 50 45 44 40 35 30 30 28 BELOW NORMAL Fig. 24. Assessment of labour productivity by Russian industrial enterprises Another consequence of the deficit of personnel was the growth of wages in industry or, to be more precise, - of the share of enterprises, the administration of which considered the level of wages to be “normal” and thus not requiring raising. In the III quarter of 2011 such level of labour remuneration was attained at 65% of enterprises which was also an absolute record over the whole period of monitoring this indicator since 2007. The biggest share of enterprises with “normal” wages was observed in fuel, metallurgical, chemical and food industries.
In August the negative dynamics of demand resulted in the halting of personnel recruitment by industrial enterprises: in industry at large the share of responses stating expansion of staff equaled the share of responses stating its reduction. Adjustment for seasonality left the zero value of August balance unchanged.
But in September industrial enterprises switched to dismissing employees. Then the intensity of dismissals was minimal but it was well “in tune with” the trend of the previous months.
Projections of enterprises showed their readiness for more intensive lay-offs. Within a month the balance of HR projections deteriorated by 6 points and changed the sign: from +3 points in August (indicating moderate plans for hiring personnel) down to -3 points in September (indicating equally moderate plans to cut the number of employed). However, adjustment for seasonality leveled off the situation bringing the balance up to zero.
Large-scale dismissals started in industry in October. While in the previous 8 months enterprises managed to enlarge staff or at least preserve the number of employed, at the beginning of the IV quarter dismissals clearly prevailed over hiring according to both the initial and seasonally adjusted data. This was the case for actually all industries. The only exception was food industry where the balance remained zero. The most intensive lay-offs were registered in chemical, construction materials and consumer goods industries. Projections of enterprises definitely showed their intentions to go on cutting personnel and do so at even higher rates.
Indeed, in November dismissals continued. The intensity of this process didn’t change and remained at the October level – the highest since March 2010. Adjustment for seasonality gave similar results.
% //// // / ////7/ 1/ 1/ 4/ 1/ RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks In December the intensity of lay-offs in industry again increased. The balance (rate of change) of this indicator fell to a 23-month minimum, i.e. the number of employed hadn’t reduced so rapidly since February 2010. At the end of the year dismissal projections of enterprises also reached record levels since December 2009. This means that the most intensive over the past 2 years reduction of personnel is expected in industry at the beginning of 2012.
The value of this indicator was only 10 points behind the record for the current crisis period (registered at end of 2008 – the beginning of 2009). Within 2011 the balance of HR projections lost 33 points and after August (as the crisis of Eurozone started to aggravate) became negative and fell by 20 points within 4 months. In the IV quarter of the last year dismissal (lay-off) projections prevailed in all industries and at all enterprises irrespective of their size and type of ownership. At the end of 2011 enterprises refrained from more massive lay-offs out of fear that in case industrial growth resumed they might fail to find necessary workers and restore the required production volumes. Russian industry remains in this situation since July 2010 when for the first time after the crisis one registered “the shortage of employees as related to demand projections”. In October 2011 deficit of personnel was stated by 19% of enterprises which is a post-crisis maximum of this indicator. Before the 2008 crisis it amounted to 26%.
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