The Belarusian economy has faced an unpleasant trend – it has lost about 25 thousand workers since the beginning of this year. Data from the National Statistics Committee of Belarus show a reduction in the number of employed in the country by 2.6 thousand over the last month and by 24.8 thousand since the beginning of 2023.
The biggest blow to the Belarusian economy came in June, when only 4 million 148.1 thousand people were employed, which is 2.6 thousand less than in the previous month and 24.8 thousand less than in January this year (4 million 172.9 thousand).
Over the past year, the number of employed in the country has decreased by 58.9 thousand people, which corresponds to the population of an average Belarusian city. The loss of workers is noticeable not only in depressed industries and regions, but also in such cities as Saligorsk, where even the highest level of income in the country could not curb the outflow of population. The number of residents of Saligorsk decreased by several per cent for the first time in several years and amounted to 98 thousand people.
The actual unemployment rate in Belarus amounted to 3.4% in June. It's important to note that the official unemployment rate, which includes only those registered at the labour exchange, is 35 times lower.
In April, the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Iryna Kastsievich, acknowledged the reduction in the number of people employed in the economy, but stated that "there are no global serious problems in the labour market". On 1 July, a decree of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection came into force, which allows foreigners and stateless persons to be hired to work in some professions, such as specialist doctors, paramedics, engineers, drivers and others. The document also applies to seamstresses, locksmiths and veterinarians.
Experts believe that the reduction of the labour force in Belarus is due to several factors. Firstly, rapid aging of the population in the absence of migration flows has its impact on the reduction in the number of workers. Second, the mass emigration of young and middle-aged people, including their families with children, for both political and economic reasons. These trends have intensified since the end of 2020, after the presidential election, when repressions against protesters started in Belarus. According to experts, more than 200 thousand people left the country in the last few years.