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Economy in Brief

Poland Unemployment Rate at 4-Year Low
by Carol Stone June 23, 2006

Unemployment in Poland fell 59,000 in May, to 2.61 million, the lowest number since August 2000. The May decline accelerated a marked downtrend that began in July 2004 after a plateau at 3.2 million that had lasted about two years. These data, except where noted, are seasonally adjusted by Haver Analytics.

The associated unemployment rate was 16.6% in May, down from 17.0% in April. This is the lowest since late 2001. However, the rates prior to January 2002 were based on a different kind of population census, so they are not fully comparable. The May value is by far the lowest on the current population base.

Employment is rising. Employment is measured several ways in Poland, but fortunately, they are all behaving in the same manner at present. A kind of grand total is taken quarterly; it shows 14.43 million employed in Q1, up by 144,000 from Q4 and the third successive sizable increase. Within this total, private sector jobs account for 9.9 million in Q1, not seasonally adjusted, up 4.0% from the year-ago quarter. The public sector has started to increase modestly after a long "downsizing"; jobs there number 4.29 million in Q1, up 0.9% from Q1 2005. When this data series began in Q1 2000, there were 5.09 million public sector jobs and 9.23 million in the private sector. The private sector experienced a cyclical downturn in 2002-2003 but has recovered to a new peak since then.

A separate monthly tally of private nonagricultural enterprise employment (reported on June 19) reached 4.90 million in May, up 12,000 in the month and 3.0% ahead of a year ago. Industry detail through April shows cyclical gains since 2004 for most sectors except construction, which remains weak. The real estate/business services area has expanded consistently throughout the four-year history of these data.

Poland, 000s, SA* May 2006 April 2006 Mar 2006/Q1 Year Ago 2005 2004 2003
Unemployment 2,608 2,667 2,714 2,897 2,871 3,091 3,179
Unemployment Rate (%) 16.6 17.0 17.2 18.4 18.2 19.5 19.9
Employment     14,430 14,002 14,116 13,795 13,716
Private Nonagr Employment 4,901 4,889 4,870 4,756 4,770 4,681 4,718
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