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Economy in Brief

News From Eastern Europe Still Mainly Negative
by Louise Curley May 18, 2009

While faint signs of recovery have begun to appear in various parts of the world, few have appeared in Eastern Europe and this remains the case with today's reports from Eastern Europe that include industrial production in Russia and the Ukraine, the labor force in Slovenia and construction in Hungary.

Russia reported that industrial production in April declined 16.8% from April, 2008, greater than the 13.7% year to year decline of March. This was the sixth consecutive decline and the largest recorded since the Federal Statistical Service revised its methodology in 2003. Production in manufacturing has shown similar trends but the declines have been significantly bigger. In April, manufacturing production was 25.3% below April 2008.

The decline in production in Ukraine has been steeper than that in Russia and in April was 33.5% below April of 2008, compared with a shortfall of 30.8% in March. The first chart shows industrial production in Russia and Ukraine.

The monthly decline in employment in Slovenia is slowing up. It was 4,635 in March, compared with 5,056 in February and 9,187 in January, but the unemployment rate continues to climb and was 8.4% in March. Slovenia's level of employment and the unemployment rate are shown in the second chart.

EASTERN EUROPE Apr 09 Mar   09 Feb 09 Jan 09  Y/Y Chg Y/Y  Chg  Y/Y  Chg Y/Y  Chg
          Apr 09 Mar   09 Feb 09 Jan 09 
Russia  IP 2005=100 100.1 102.4 102.5 97.4 -16.8% -13.7% -13.2% -16.0%
Ukraine IP2005=100 80.4 84.5 78.0 73.9 -33.5% -30.8% -31.4% -31.8%
Hungary Construction Exp  Bil of Forints -- 179.7 164.1 142.1 -- 8.6% -1.2% -9.4%
Slovenia Unemp Rate (%) -- 8.4 8.0 7.5 -- -- -- --
Slovenia Employ Persons -- 865,459 870,094 875,150 -- -4635* -5056* -9187*
* month to month change
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