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January surge in employment caused by statistical effects


In our view, the sharp increase in average employment in the enterprise sector observed in January was largely a statistical effect, resulting from an annual update of the GUS’ survey sample (the Office’s data for the enterprise sector concern firms employing more than 9 people). We believe that the latest figures are not so much a reflection of changes in the labour market situation in January, but rather a consequence of what happened in 2010 in the sector of micro firms (employing 0-9 people), i.e. consolidation and rising employment levels in line with improving economic conditions and recovering demand. As a result, at some of these companies employment levels exceeded 9 people, which led to an expansion of the survey sample from January. A similar situation, albeit on a much smaller scale, occurred in January 2010, when employment rose by 0.9% compared with December (as against an increase of as much as 2.3% this time around), whereas monthly changes in the preceding and following months were marginal. Therefore, although the annual rate of employment growth should remain high throughout 2011 (helped by improving macroeconomic conditions and the effect of the updated survey sample), one should not expect similarly sharp increases in monthly terms. Indeed, the coming months might actually bring small month-on-month declines in employment, accompanied by continued rises in the registered unemployment rate, due to a seasonal weakening of labour demand. We expect that a noticeable improvement in the labour market situation will occur only in the spring, in line with returning demand for seasonal jobs and with further strengthening of the economic recovery.

Paweł Sionko
Construction Market Analyst, PMR

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