Vladimir Putin visited the Tulazheldormash plant, where he inspected the shops and talked to the workers. They asked him about salaries that are not keeping pace with inflation, about measures to attract and retain young professionals in the industry. Putin's answers were optimistic, he announced that real disposable incomes began to grow in the country at the end of last year, and even named the exact figure - incomes increased by 0.9% (in relation to the corresponding period of the previous year). He did not specify, however, that these are official data for the fourth quarter, and in the third quarter, real disposable income fell by 3.1%.
After that, Putin announced quite good news:
“As you know, we now have a historically low unemployment rate of 3.6%. By the way, this is also one of the factors that should push up wage increases, because there is real competition in the economy for qualified personnel, that is, there is a struggle not for getting a job, but for an employee. And this is also a factor that will inevitably push the growth of wages, because one enterprise, frankly speaking, in the popular way, is already luring workers to itself. And what is tempting? salary."
According to Rosstat, by the end of 2022 it was 3.7%. But at the end of January of this year, the FinExpertiza audit network estimated the level of hidden unemployment, that is, those who are on leave without pay, in forced downtime or work part-time. And this level turned out to be a record: 13% of the entire labor force in Russia.
In the automotive industry, after the departure of foreign companies, 27.1% of workers turned out to be such hidden completely unemployed (and another 8.4% worked part-time), in the food industry - 17.9%, in the chemical industry - the same 17.9%, in the pharmacological - 17.8%. More than 20% of employees were sent on leave without pay by metallurgical plants, furniture factories and electrical appliance companies.
Against this background, Putin's arguments about the struggle of enterprises for workers as a factor in wage growth look somewhat out of touch with reality.