Unemployment could triple
The State Service for Employment is predicting that in 2009 unemployment in Ukraine could be at the level of the crisis at the beginning of the 1990s.
The Head of the Service Volodymyr Halytsky named a figure of 7-8% this being almost three times as much as at the beginning of this year. Similar figures have recently been suggested by the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy which also predicted that Ukrainians might expect delays in receiving pay and pensions.
The worst affected will be people working in the chemical and mining and metallurgy industry, as well as in banks and construction. However there are also reductions in other areas of the economy.
Employers are also resorting to cuts in wages, and there are reports of some employees in the public sector experiencing details in receiving their pay, and pensioners their pensions.
The official prediction of a rise in unemployment of over 8% is only three percent less than during the crisis at the beginning of the 1990s.
Social unrest possible
The Deputy General Director of the Razumkov Centres International Programme Valery Chaly believes one cannot exclude the possibility that imbalance in the social sphere could lead to social rebellion. At a press conference he explained that the problem was not even in the economic crisis, but in what he called the huge divide between the wealthiest and poorest. He said that the 5% at the top of the scale are according to different statistics from 38 to 70 times better off than the poorest 5%, this being the most critical reading in Europe. An increase in unemployment and social problems, and fall in peoples incomes could lead, if not to confrontation, at least to social tension.
According to the State Department of Statistics 84.5% of the population consider themselves to be poor. According to Ella Libanova, Director of the Institute of Demography and Social Research, this subjective sense of poverty is much more dangerous than an objective one based on figures. She points out that the difference now between this subjective assessment and the governments has risen sharply.