Russia's labor force is expected to lose 10 million workers and shrink to 79 million people by 2016, said State Statistics Committee head Vladimir Sokolin during a press conference last week devoted to the results of the 2002 census. He said that the 2002 registered 89 million people in the labor force, which accounted for 61.3% of the Russian population.
'According to the previous census in 1989 the labor force made up only 56.9% of the population. The increase in the percentage of work-age people is due to the 1980's generation joining the work force,' said Sokolin. He said the reduction of the work force by 2016 'is occurring in part from the shrinking number of migrant workers into Russia.' He said that the number of migrants in 2003 fell by 55% year-on-year. He expressed regret that fewer migrants were coming to Russia. He said the situation was due 'in large part to the toughening of migration laws.' Sokolin said that 'Russia needs to develop a long-term migration strategy.' 'In reviewing the summaries of the latest census, it is clear that Russia strongly needs a new migration policy,' he emphasized. Sokolin predicted that by 2030 Russia would be 17th in the world in population. Today it is 7th.