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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ILO Claims True Jobless Figure Is 10%

GENEVA --The International Labor Organization's top expert on the former Communist countries of Europe said Monday that real unemployment in Russia was now more than 10 percent of the work force.

Guy Standing, who heads the United Nations body's Central and East European Team, told a news conference the figure looked set to grow as factories closed down under pressures from new bankruptcy laws.

"The official unemployment rate, which hovers around 1.5 percent, is totally unreliable," he said "The real figure is in double digits, 10 percent or more."

Standing, who has toured Russia widely, was presenting a report prepared on the labor market in four major industrial areas.

Strongly critical of now-departed reformers, the ILO expert rejected their assertions that real "shock therapy" had not been introduced.

Studies by his unit based on regular contacts with Russian factory managers and visits to plants showed that the true unemployment figure was masked because millions of workers who had in effect lost their jobs were not counted. This was partly due to a widespread practice of unpaid leave.

"Our studies show that seven out of eight of the short-term unemployed are not counted because they do not register," the ILO expert declared.

Standing said the growing army of unemployed represented a danger for the future of reform and a pool of support for Communists and ultranationalists like Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

He said the absence of a widespread social security safety net made the situation more explosive than the West.