CIS, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, Labor market, social policy and social services, labour market, labour migration, labour unions, CASE Reports, CASE Network Studies and Analyses, unemployment

Labor Markets in CIS Countries


This work is done as contribution to the Regional Human Development Report 2004 section 3.7 on “Labor Markets”. The paper focuses on discussing peculiarities of the labor market transition in CIS countries, features of unemployment, labor legislation, and role of the trade unions.

The paper gathers information on the labor markets of CIS and Eastern European countries that was available by summer 2004, and draws policy recommendations based on comparison between these two groups of countries. The main conclusion is that the transformation of labor markets is not complete in any of the CIS countries; most of the problems that prevailed in the early 1990s remain. These include: centralized wage setting in five CIS countries – Belarus, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan; extensive unemployment and underemployment, much of which is hidden; ineffective systems of labor relations and social protection; large mismatches between the labor market skills supplied and the skills demanded by new market economies; inadequate official labor market data.

Fortunately, the strong economic growth experienced by most CIS countries since 1999 has increased the demand for labor and is putting downward pressures on unemployment rates. This offers a window of opportunity for policy makers seeking to further transform labor markets, and to modernize labor relations and social protection systems. The above analysis suggests the policy recommendations to speed up further transformation.