The Russians paid a trillion rubles for the quarantine. And they will pay again...

The Russians paid a trillion rubles for the quarantine. And they will pay again...

27 October , 11:43Photo:
The pandemic not only sent the economy of the country and the world into a deep crisis. All Russians felt its consequences. Economists estimate that the citizens of our country have already collectively lost about 900 billion rubles in the second quarter.

For the year, the forecast is even more severe - the working population will receive less than 2 trillion less.

Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil

The NKR rating agency has published an analytical report on the consequences of quarantine. In the second quarter, which was quarantined, the payroll fell by 10% . Citizens received less than 841 billion rubles . The largest reduction in wages was observed in April in 79 regions out of 85, and in May in 76. Residents of the Moscow region and St. Petersburg suffered the most from quarantine - they accounted for 45% of the cuts. The authors of the report emphasize that the reduction in the wage fund was not due to layoffs, but due to the fact that workers were sent to part-time or part-time work.

Revenues are falling

However, the total income of the population will fall significantly more. The Higher School of Economics believes that real incomes of the population will decrease by 2-2.5 trillion rubles. Georgy Ostapkovich, Director of the HSE Center for Business Studies, relies on the forecasts of the Ministry of Economic Development:

- The Ministry of Economy is the only ministry responsible for economic growth in terms of regulations. Therefore, as a rule, it always gives a more or less optimistic forecast. They assume a 3% fall by the end of the year, but I think that in reality it will be in the range of 3% - 4%. If our total revenues in 2019 were 60 trillion, then 4% of 60 is 2.4 trillion - here they are, income losses.

Nobody can give the exact figure - and does not want to. Much will depend on how the second wave of coronavirus develops and how the authorities behave. In the spring, Moscow and St. Petersburg had the most stringent quarantine measures, so the drop in patches was the most significant. On the contrary, in sparsely populated regions where the rotational work method prevails, salaries have not changed, since there was no large-scale lockdown.

Rosstat published data on average wages in the first half of the year. According to the main statistical department, it has increased by 1,800 rubles a month compared to last year. This is practically zero growth, says Maria Ignatova, head of research at Head Hunter. Rosstat only calculates the salary. Bonuses are not included in his statistics. In addition, in this data, the focus is shifted to the analysis of budgetary organizations. Those analysts who deal with commercial structures receive completely different data:

- There were salary reductions in April - May, and even now there is a shortfall in the previous income. But this applies to the bonus, premium part. People are accustomed to bonuses as their main source of income, and the shortfall in receiving them in the spring has a very strong impact. In addition, to put it mildly, our prices have not stopped growing. In terms of numbers, our applicants noted a decrease in income by a third, in fact, this means non-payment of the quarterly bonus.

Rosstat sees half the picture

Rosstat “sees” the wages of only those employees who work at large and medium-sized enterprises. Of the 70 million employed, state statistics account for 32 million plus 8-10 million employed in small businesses.

The remaining 30 million are simply not included in the reports. For the self-employed, the drop in income is much greater than that of the "sovereign servants", state employees, military personnel and employees of state enterprises. Georgy Ostapkovich estimates it at 10% , since those who do not fall into the state reporting do not receive any help from the state either:

- But Rosstat cannot be blamed. It always stipulates: we give 40 million each, and you draw your own conclusions. According to the Ministry of Finance, we have about 10-11 trillion rubles on gray wages, which neither Rosstat nor the tax authorities see. That's the whole problem.

Nobody knows what the losses are in this segment of the Russian economy. If we assume that they really amount to 10%, then another two trillion will be added.

Salaries will not grow

Recruiting agencies note that in terms of staff demand, there was a rebound in the third quarter. Companies started hiring people again. But in terms of wages, wages have not gone up. It is unlikely that wages will return to pre-economic levels soon.

"A third of companies note that they will cut salaries to stay afloat. Half say nothing will change. The rest are still in thought. But they are the smallest share. Everything will depend on how the epidemiological situation develops", - says Maria Ignatova.

According to analysts, the decision on the company's salary will be made at the end of the year. Then it will be clear the annual financial result, whether there will be free money, from which it will be possible to compensate for unpaid bonuses and bonuses. There is no such understanding now.

... income too

Even the usually optimistic Rosstat has published disappointing figures on the real income of the population. In the second quarter, they fell by 8.4% compared to the same period in 2019, in the third quarter, the decline stopped and amounted to 4.7% . Experts say that the decline in income will continue and amount to 4% per year:

"There will be a decrease if the "black swans" do not arrive with the second wave of the pandemic, if the "black swans" do not arrive with sanctions rhetoric, if the "black swans" do not arrive in the US elections (I mean the prospects of the world economy), if not the economy of our export partners - the European Union and China, where we send our exports, will decrease. The main thing is that the main consumers of our exports do not have a fall in the economy, then it will be worse for us, we will not be able to sell our raw materials - oil, gas, timber, coal, metal, grain", - says Georgy Ostapkovich.

If the situation with China is developing positively, as far as possible in a pandemic, then in Europe the prospects are vague. The “black swans” of which Georgy Ostapkovich speaks, or unexpected economic and political events with dramatic consequences, such as a pandemic, have already arrived. If the number of infected people increases by 100,000 people a day, and this figure is not so far from the European reality as it seems, then local restrictions, as now, may turn into country restrictions. As much as politicians want to avoid a lockdown, China's experience shows that only strict quarantines can stop the disease if there is no vaccine for everyone and no drugs to treat covid.

If there is a favorable or at least a conservative scenario, incomes will gradually equalize. With the opening of the economy, production will expand. Profits are growing and the entrepreneur will be interested in hiring workers. By hiring workers, he increases people's income, raises wages.

"This, in fact, is not me saying. This is Adam Smith and David Ricardo speaking. But the fact that we will be in the negative zone this year, and in all respects: GDP, income, industry, construction, and other indicators is a fact. The only industry that can enter positive this year, show 102%, is only agriculture", - says Ostapkovich.

But unemployment is growing

Actual unemployment is growing in the country. The official figure is 5 million. But the majority of the population lives in hidden unemployment. This can be a vacation at your own expense, or a reduction in the working week. This is how employers optimize their costs. Until September, by order of the president, the unemployed were paid 12 thousand rubles a month, but since October 1, these payments have stopped. Employment services pay 1.5-2 thousand rubles a month. The only salvation is going into the informal economy, which neither Rosstat nor the tax authorities see. This is absolutely the right decision, says economist Ostapkovich. Going to informal people, this is the only way people can feed their families. If the state starts to catch them, then instead of 13% we will get a poverty level of 18-20%. They make money, and this money does not hit the state. When the economy improves, people themselves will come out of the shadows under the sun. Under the sun in a transparent economy, wages are still 20% to 30% higher.

Why incomes are not growing in Russia

Incomes in Russia fell and stagnated before the pandemic. If we compare the real incomes of 2013 and 2020 , it turns out that they will fall by 10% this year. The paradox is that until 2020 the economy grew every year, even by 0.2-0.5%, but still there was growth, and incomes were falling. Economists say that this does not happen in economic theory. This situation happens in resource-based countries, as well as when income is spent in the wrong direction.

- With all due respect to the Olympic Games ... We held the Olympics, spending 50 billion dollars on it. And what did it bring to people? If this money went to the population, then our income would grow. Building insane bridges... there is no multiplier effect on income growth. If the "black swans" do not come, if we do not get into a storm... We are always running into something... and what will happen to Navalny, Belarus, Karabakh... And this all affects.

Real incomes of the population will begin to grow no earlier than the end of 2021 - early 2022. The main thing now is to support people, economists say. The main thing is that citizens do not fall into the zone of deprivation and poverty. All social, economic, political problems arise not from falling GDP, but from falling incomes, employment, poverty and social stratification. Then social turbulence begins.

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