Harvesting grain on a farm
Courtesy Anatol Klashchuk
The private sector attracted a growing portion of the
force in 1994, but cooperatives and the state sector
account for the bulk of official employment in Belarus.
force numbered 4.8 million persons in 1994, or 48 percent
A principal reason for Belarus's low official
rate in 1994 (2.2 percent by the end of that year) was
underemployment, which had been true during the Soviet era
well (thus keeping down the Soviet unemployment rate).
than lay off employees, enterprises often shortened work
reduced wages, and even forced employees to take leave
pay instead. Agreements signed by enterprises, labor
the government in 1993 and 1994 called for avoiding
output and employment; in return for keeping the same
employment, labor unions mainly refrained from industrial
disruptions. At a time when the cost of living was rising
dramatically, the social benefits provided by enterprises
acted as a disincentive for voluntary separations: a
job that provided access to clinics, day care, and
housing was better than cash unemployment benefits alone.
Data as of June 1995