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On Wednesday, Russia’s state statistics service Rosstat released figures which showed that Russian unemployment plunged in October, to 2.9%. That is the lowest unemployment numbers seen since the early 1990’s.

In October, there were roughly 2.2 million people 15 years old or older who were unemployed, compared to an average of 2.3 million for the third quarter. The new data marked a 23% decline year over year.

The number of employed individuals reached 74.1 million, compared to 74 million one month prior, and 72.1 million one year earlier.

The country’s unemployment has remained below 4% since May of 2022.

The Bank of Russia noted however that wage growth continues to be supported by the fact that businesses are suffering from a shortage of workers.

In a note, the bank wrote, “To retain staff, enterprises are developing and expanding programs to motivate and stimulate employees.”

Rosstat data indicated that in September, the average monthly salary in Russia had increased 7.2% over the previous year, to 70,900 rubles ($800). However it was noted that the increase in wages was decelerating compared to previous months, with August seeing a 9.5% increase in wages, and July measuring a 9.2% increase.

According to the Russian Research Institute of Labor, the current environment is a “job seeker’s labor market.”

In a note reported on by the RBK news outlet, the institute said, “This provision is favorable for the job applicants, since it gives them greater freedom of choice, and encourages employers to compete for workers through increasing wages and improving working conditions.”

Analysts have noted that there has been increasing demand among employers for employees of immediate pre-retirement age, young workers, disabled workers, and other groups which most employers would previously have overlooked.

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