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Economy in Brief

Poland Employment Gains; Unemployment Down, but Still Very High
by Carol Stone August 24, 2006

Employment is rising in Europe, as we have noted frequently here recently. Poland, whose Central Statistical Office issued some July data today, is no exception. The enterprise sector saw an increase of 10,000 in July, following 18,000 in June, with an overall 3.3% gain from a year ago. This sector covers about half of Poland's private employment and about 34% of total employment. A cyclical downturn in 2003 and 2004 reduced the share of "enterprise" employment in the total, but that had stabilized by early this year.

Jobs are increasing in every industry segment. Traditional "industry" -- mining, manufacturing and utilities -- has seen 2.6% growth over the past year. "Other", a group we calculated as the sum of tourism, transportation, and business services, expanded by 3.4% and construction by 4.4%. "Trade and repair", which includes wholesale and retail trade outlets, repair shops and motor vehicle service stations and repairs, has the largest increase, 4.7%, which amounts to 40,000 more jobs.

The good employment picture notwithstanding, unemployment remains high in Poland. It was 15.9% (seasonally adjusted by Haver Analytics) in July. This is down from recent recessionary highs that hovered around 20%, but it is far higher than neighboring countries. Of the larger Central and Eastern European nations, only Slovakia (recently 10.6%) and Bulgaria (10%) have unemployment rates higher than 10%. Even Russia reports just 8% for July. So there would appear to be considerable room for expansion in the Polish economy, with about 2.5 million people to put to work, even on top of the most recent job growth.

Poland: NSA, Thous July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 July 2005 2005 2004 2003
Employment in Enterprise Sector 4928 4918 4901 4772 4770 4681 4718
  Industry 2484 2478 2471 2422 2426 2399 2408
  Construction 335 332 328 321 319 316 354
  Trade 897 899 898 857 859 818 805
  All Other* 1212 1209 1204 1172 1166 1148 1151
Reg. Unemployment (SA) 2488 2531 2608 2862 2871 3091 3179
  Rate (SA, %) 15.9 16.2 16.6 18.2 18.2 19.5 19.9
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