Poll Says 48% of Russians Fear for Jobs

MTWorkers at the Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works in Chelyabinsk. The company recently reduced its staff by 1,300.
Nearly half of Russians are worried that they will lose their jobs in the next three months because of the global financial crisis, a survey showed.

Forty-eight percent of Russians say it is possible that they will be fired, while 3 percent of those are sure they will lose their jobs, according to a poll released Thursday by state-run VTsIOM.

The pace of the country's economic growth, fueled by revenue from energy sales and domestic consumption, is set to slow to 7.3 percent this year, compared with 8.1 percent in 2007, the Economic Development Ministry said last week. Service industries ranging from banking to supermarkets contracted in October for the first time in more than seven years, VTB Bank Europe's PMI showed.

"Russian companies are cutting production, laying off staff and lowering future" capital expenditures, UniCredit said in a report released last week. "Domestic consumption is likely to weaken considerably, despite the expected indexation of public sector wages and the rather moderate outlook for unemployment."

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works reduced staff numbers by 1,300 people during the past few weeks, it said Thursday in its company blog, confirmed by the spokesman.

X5 Retail Group plans to cut as many as 30 percent of jobs at its headquarters to reduce costs, investor-relations head Anna Kareva said Oct. 30. Yevroset also plans to reduce its 35,000 staff by "several percent" because of the economic slowdown, spokeswoman Natalya Aristova said Oct. 8.

Still, 53 percent of surveyed Russians say they will be able to find other work that is just as good if they lose their current job, according to VTsIOM. Thirty-six percent of those said it would not require much effort to find an equally good job, while 17 percent think that it will require great effort.