Euro 2012 to Cut Polish Jobless Rate, Labor Minister Says

The European soccer championships will help cut Poland’s unemployment rate toward the government’s 12.3 percent target at the end of the year, Labor Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

“The labor-market situation in Poland looks undoubtedly better than expected only a few months ago,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said in a phone interview yesterday. “Euro 2012 has already given an impulse and will help the labor market during the tournament. I also count on the effect lasting to some extent, keeping some tourism-related jobs.”

The economy will grow at the second fastest pace in Europe this year after Russia, even as the euro-area debt crisis slows the expansion to 2.6 percent from 4.3 percent in 2011, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday.

The central bank warned this month that the pace of growth and inflation exceeding the tolerance range of monetary policy will prompt higher interest rates unless the economy slows and helps curb consumer prices.

Wages, jobs and production data due this month will help rate setters decide whether to increase borrowing costs next month, central banker Anna Zielinska-Glebocka said in an April 14 interview.

Today’s Data

Corporate employment rose 0.5 percent from a year earlier, the same rate as in February, the Central Statistical Office in Warsaw said today, matching the median estimate of 27 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Average gross wages rose 3.8 percent from a year earlier in March after a 4.3 percent surge the previous month, which also matched the median forecast of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The zloty traded at 4.1854 per euro at 3 p.m. in Warsaw, unchanged on the wages and employment reports and down from 4.1691 late yesterday.

“The data today confirms that the Polish labor market is weak, though fortunately it doesn’t show any sudden worsening,” said Monika Kurtek, chief economist at Bank Pocztowy in Warsaw. “Employment this year is at much lower levels than last and we will see no significant change in coming months, except for June and July on Euro 2012.”

The Monetary Policy Council may raise rates next month on expectations of a “relatively modest economic slowdown,” Kurtek said. Before its next rate meeting, Poland reports industrial output for March tomorrow and retail sales and final March jobless figures on April 25.

Falling Rate

The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in March from a five-year high of 13.5 percent the previous month, according to a Labor Ministry estimate on April 5. Economists expect a rate of 13.4 percent when the statistics office reports March data, according to the median of 21 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Unemployment usually falls in the March-September period, “but this year, the seasonal drop will be strengthened by the soccer tournament,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said, listing tourism, logistics, transportation, promotion and construction among the industries set for jobs gains.

Unemployment will keep slowing in the “coming months,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said, adding that the government is sticking to its target for the rate to drop to 12.3 percent by the end of the year.

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