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EBRD Transition Report 2014 – Inflation and unemployment

TRANSITION REPORT 2014 Innovation in Transition

Inflation and unemployment

Inflation rates have declined further in most countries (see Chart M.9). This reflects a combination of: (i) slower growth, and hence weaker demand pressures; (ii) broadly stable or falling prices for energy and metal commodities; and (iii) a decline in food prices, following one of the best harvests on record in 2013, coupled with expectations of a strong harvest in 2014.

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In a number of countries in the CEB, SEE and EEC regions – predominantly those that use the euro as legal tender or as an anchor for their exchange rate peg – inflation has turned negative (in year-on-year terms). In some cases (in Hungary, for instance), administrative measures aimed at lowering regulated tariffs have temporarily contributed to lower inflation. At the same time, inflation has been persistently high in Belarus, Egypt, Mongolia, Russia and Turkey, where currency depreciation and resulting increases in import prices have contributed to upward price pressures. In Egypt bottlenecks in the food supply chain have further exacerbated food price inflation.

Unemployment remains persistently high in a number of countries, particularly in the CEB, SEE and SEMED regions. Of particular concern are the persistent (and in many cases rising) levels of long-term unemployment – the percentage of people in the labour force who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. Long-term unemployment now averages around 6 per cent in CEB countries and 16 per cent in SEE countries. The Baltic states are a notable exception: their long-term unemployment rate has been declining since 2011, testimony to the strength of their post-crisis recovery and their more flexible labour markets.

Youth unemployment (that is to say, unemployment among people aged between 15 and 24) remains particularly high in the SEE and SEMED regions. In the SEMED region the problem of youth unemployment is amplified by demographic trends, as young labour market entrants account for a large and rising share of the population.

CHART M.9
  CEB SEE   EEC   CA SEMED  
  • 12 months earlier

Source: National authorities via CEIC Data.
Note: The rates shown are year-on-year figures based on consumer price indices. ** denotes a country that uses the euro either as legal tender or as a reference currency for the exchange rate peg.