Recovery has increased regional inequality – Newspaper Kommersant No. 116 (7078) from 07.07.2021

One of the sections of the July issue of “Monitoring the Economic Situation in Russia” by the Gaidar Institute and RANEPA is devoted to the analysis of the recovery of the regions from the crisis in January-April 2021. The process is characterized by “serious territorial differences that must be taken into account when pursuing regional policy and … financial support for the regions,” notes the author Natalya Zubarevich from the Laboratory for Demography, Migration and Labor Market Research, RANEPA. The study is complicated by the effect of the base and “the dependence of the dynamics on the rate of decline in April 2020, due to different degrees of severity of restrictions in the regions,” and this problem will remain.

However, even taking this into account, the decline in industry (by 10-12% in January-April 2021 on an annualized basis) persisted in the “oil” regions – the Nenets and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, in Komi, Sakhalin and in the Krasnoyarsk Territory; the drop in housing commissioning has not been overcome in Moscow, Krasnodar Territory, Tyumen and Rostov Regions (from 4% to 6%). In a third of regions with cities with a population of over one million, a decline in retail remained (Perm Territory, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Sverdlovsk, Omsk regions – by 2-7%), paid services have not yet recovered in Moscow, Voronezh, Kurgan, Kemerovo regions, Primorye, Udmurtia and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, and catering turnover decreased in 25 regions. Real incomes of citizens grew only in Moscow (by 1.7%) and in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (by 5.8%).

Although regional labor markets were recovering and unemployment was declining – the process was supported by both a partial reduction in the amount of “antiquated” benefits for it, and a tightening of registration of unemployed – there is still no data on the state of the most affected small and medium-sized businesses: “data on the number of people employed in SMEs for the first quarter of 2021 years have not yet been published, ”says Ms. Zubarevich. The slowest decline in the registered unemployment rate was observed not only in the underdeveloped republics, but also in a number of regions, mainly in the east of the Russian Federation (see graph). This may in part be related to the distribution of federal budget subventions for unemployment benefits. In Moscow and Sakhalin, unemployment fell to almost the pre-crisis level (0.7% in April 2021), in St. Petersburg its level was 1.5% higher.

Alexey Shapovalov

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