Russia’s oil-price related recession (September 2014-April 2015) has been over for months. Were it two months shorter, it could not even be called a recession, by U.S. standards. Yet American news media continues to pretend Russia is still in recession while its unemployment rate has fallen for the third consecutive month -and pretty rapidly, too:
A .17 percentage point per month decline in the unemployment rate would be hailed in the U.S. as a miracle, with Obama prominently declared the Greatest President Evah by the vast majority of Democrats. The best the U.S. has ever had during the present recovery has been a .125 percentage point per month decline from October 2013 to October 2014. This is another piece of evidence for Russia’s labor market being far more flexible than that in the U.S., and having been so since the 1990s.
Russia’s recession was, as most correctly understood, deeply connected to the September-December 2014 oil price fall (a milder deja vu of 2008). When the price of oil falls, Russian RGDP falls. As Russia had a fairly loose monetary policy this time around, this RGDP fall largely manifested itself in shared sacrifice (falling real wages) rather than (as in the U.S.) mass unemployment. Now, however, the price of oil has risen, Russia’s CPI has stopped skyrocketing, and the trend of economic conditions is generally back to normal. Of course, many still feel economic pain, much as many throughout the world felt economic pain in 2010 and 2011. But that doesn’t mean Russia is in recession, any more than the U.S. was in recession in 2010 and 11.