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Nearly 400,000 new jobs were created in Ukraine in the first nine months of 2021, according to statistics published by the Economy Ministry.
This statistic is part of a recent resurgence in employment in Ukraine after significant job losses during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the State Statistics Service, Ukraine’s employment rate rose to 66.6% in the third quarter of 2021, up from 65.2% in the second quarter.
The ministry also noted that, according to estimates by the State Employment Service, in the first 11 months of 2021 around 500,000 Ukrainians found employment.
However, Ilya Neskhodovskiy, director of the Institute for Social-Economic Transformation, believes that the government’s job creation statistics, while accurate, are misleading.
“Of course, this statistic is based on real data... However, this isn’t the most important aspect. When a new business is created, it declares a certain number of job vacancies, however when they are created many jobs are closed and removed,” Neskhodovskiy told the Kyiv Independent.
As a result, official statistics include jobs that potentially no longer exist, or were quickly scrapped without a hiring process.
“The Cabinet of Ministers and the Economy Ministry are speculating, they don’t look into the full meaning of this data and instead parade the statistics around as a victory,” Neskhodovskiy remarked.
Unemployment rates reached four-year highs between January-April 2021, when 10.5% of the population was unemployed. In the same period, employment rates in Ukraine fell to 10-year lows, with just 15.49 million people in employment.
In 2019, the unemployment rate was in Ukraine was 9% -- it was as low as 6.4% in 2008.
In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, 37,300 people registered themselves as unemployed in Ukraine. However, by the end of the year, in December, more than 109,000 people registered as unemployed in just one month.
According to a post on the website of Cabinet of Ministers, in order to reverse this trend in 2021, the government improved conditions in the labor market through pandemic loan refinancing, economic stimulus packages, and unemployment training programs.
In order to retain employees, many companies relied on government support packages. In 2021, the government authorised $256 million of microfinance loans to small and medium sized businesses, leading to a 20% increase in demand from businesses for working loans.
In 2022, the Ukrainian government plans to launch a “Helping Hand” scheme, which aims to help the unemployed start their own business with government fiscal support. The government will provide interest-free loans of a maximum $3,564 (Hr 97,500) which can be used to buy capital to start up small businesses.