The Belarusian authorities proudly report that the level of unemployment in Belarus is around 1%. This figure, however, does not reflect reality. The registration process for unemployment benefits is cumbersome, and the unemployed are required to perform ‘public works’ in order to get state benefits. Hence, very few unemployed actually register and the official statistics are overly optimistic.

Hidden unemployment levels remains very high, and there is a considerable imbalance between the supply and demand for some occupations and in some regions. A relatively low unemployment level during conditions of a production slump is maintained mostly by the labor force surplus in large enterprises. Youth unemployment is of special concern. The proportion of unemployed 16-29 year-olds is steadily rising.