Friday, May 8, 2009

Romania April unemployment rate rises to 5.7 pct

BUCHAREST, May 7 (Reuters) - Romania's unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent in April from 5.6 percent in March, the employment agency said on Thursday, as shrinking demand has hit the country's manufacturers.

In April 2008, the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

Tumbling demand from the euro zone has hurt central and eastern European economies in recent months, forcing many manufacturers to halt production and lay off workers.

Moreover, the government needs to make deep spending cuts to curb Romania's large imbalances bloated by lavish spending by the previous cabinet, especially since the country reached an aid agreement with the International Monetary Fund in March.

This may also mean a restructuring of the country's inefficient public sector, which employs about a third of Romania's workforce.

Romania's centre-left cabinet last week scrapped plans to hike public wages in 2009, including for teachers and civil servants, to reflect an IMF-mandated budget revision.

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