Putin urges balance between growing labor costs, social guarantees and economic development

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that the current unemployment levels in Russia are lower than before the crisis.

"In Russia, we - and here I would like to thank the leadership of independent trade unions - have, up to now, been able to reach a consensus between the executive branch and trade unions. I think that it's extremely important not only for our country but for other countries as well, particularly amid signs of crisis in the world economy, because we should always strive to achieve a balance between growing labor costs, social guarantees and economic development prospects," Putin said at a meeting with trade union leaders from APEC countries on Monday.

The common goal of "improving the living standards and well-being of the citizens of our countries" can only be attained through ensuring higher economic growth," he said.

Unemployment in Russia has fallen by 5.1-5.2 percent from the pre-crisis levels, but it's not just the task of reducing unemployment but also "reformatting the labor market" that needs to be addressed, the Russian leader said.

"I would like us very much to implement the task we set ourselves. It's a very ambitious one - to create 25 million new jobs, absolutely new, and to reform the existing ones. The case in point is to give people more skilled jobs and worthier salaries," Putin said.

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