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By Pawel Sobczak and Marcin Goettig
WARSAW, June 6 (Reuters) - Poland’s jobless rate fell to its lowest since late 2008 in May, data showed on Monday, partly as multinational companies establish offshoring centres in the European Union’s largest eastern economy.
The registered unemployment rate fell to 9.2 percent from 9.5 percent in April, the labour ministry said.
“Another month of single-digit unemployment and an improving situation on the labour market are clear signals that we are starting to deal with an employee’s market,” Labour Minister Elzbieta Rafalska said in a statement.
She said the rate was likely to fall below 9 percent by year-end. The lowest rate of unemployment since the end of communist rule in Poland in 1989 was 8.8 percent, recorded in October 2008.
The recent fall in unemployment has been mirrored by rising wages, with employees benefiting from a rapid expansion of offshoring by corporations such as Credit Suisse and Amazon.
Corporate wages rose by a nominal 4.6 percent last month. Accounting for deflation, they are currently rising at a rate of well over 5 percent per year.
Despite the increases, Poles on average earn less than a third as much as Germans.
“With such a labour market one may expect that wage dynamics will accelerate,” said Grzegorz Maliszewski, chief economist at Bank Millennium in Warsaw. “The data support a scenario of stable interest rates in the months ahead,” he added.
According to EU methodology, Poland’s unemployment rate stood at 6.3 percent in April, below the EU’s average rate at 8.7 percent.
Growth in Poland’s $464 billion economy slipped to an annual 3.0 percent in the first quarter due to a slower influx of EU funds. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the slowdown to be temporary and forecast full-year growth at 3.6 percent.
Many analysts forecast the eurosceptic government’s new child benefit programme - called 500+ and equivalent to about 1 percent of projected gross domestic product in 2016 - will further bolster private consumption, the main driver of growth.
“If we add 500+ to rising incomes from employment then it means private consumption has improved prospects ahead,” Maliszewski said.
Official unemployment data for May will be published later in June by the statistical office, based on the Labour Ministry’s input. ($1 = 3.8560 zlotys) (Reporting by Pawel Sobczak and Marcin Goettig; Writing by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Hugh Lawson)