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500,000 Workers to Lose Jobs
The number of Russians set to lose their jobs amid the global financial crisis has reached half a million, jumping tenfold in less than four months, according to data released by the Health and Social Development Ministry.
The figures demonstrate how deeply the economic turmoil has penetrated into the real economy, affecting not only financial professionals, as was largely the case in October, but everyone from store clerks to construction workers.
As of Feb. 18, the Health and Social Development Ministry had classified 496,600 workers as "due for redundancy" -- meaning job cuts notified to the government but not yet enacted.
Wages and real disposable income are also plummeting, while wages owed to workers have almost tripled since last year, government data showed.
Real wages fell 26.7 percent in January compared with December and 9.1 percent compared to January of 2008.
At the same time, real disposable income dropped 45.7 percent month on month and 6.7 percent year on year, the State Statistics Service said.
The Health and Social Development Ministry's data showed that wage arrears had ballooned to nearly 7 billion rubles ($195.2 million) as of Feb. 1, 2 1/2 times higher than at the start of 2008.
The ministry, which presented its labor report on Tuesday, showed that some of the biggest regions of European Russia had been the worst affected, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.