MOSCOW, JULY 29 -- The crisis in the Soviet economy is deepening despite President Mikhail Gorbachev's attempt to transform it along free-market lines, according to official figures published today.
"There was no economic recovery," the official news agency Tass said in reporting state monetary and industrial statistics for the first half of this year. Inflation, the trade deficit, debt and unemployment were all up, while most production figures were down.
The figures also showed that the number of people working in small private cooperatives -- a key new sector in the Kremlin's effort to move away from government central planning -- rose 70 percent compared with the same period of 1989. But they still employed only 500,000 people, including those with two jobs, out of a workforce of 164 million.
The result of new incentives to promote private farm production also was not encouraging. By July 1, private farms had sown 299,000 acres, compared with 512 million acres being cultivated by state and collective farms.
Under Gorbachev's perestroika restructuring, the Soviet government plans by 1991 to have what it calls a "regulated market economy," under which state subsidies will be greatly reduced and the price of many basic foodstuffs greatly increased to reflect the real cost of production. By 1993, it plans to relax restrictions on foreign investment, break up state industrial and agricultural monopolies, sell off government trading organizations and set up a stock market.
But radical-reformist critics say the policies are being pursued half-heartedly at best and too slowly to keep pace with the aspirations of consumers and the ambitions of budding businessmen.
Key figures comparing the first half of this year with the same period of 1989, some of which were first published last week by the Soviet weekly Commersant, showed the gross national product down 1 percent; labor productivity down 1.5 percent; new home construction down 6 percent; non-food inflation up 5 percent; and the money supply up 9 percent, fueling the inflation.
During the same period, the national debt rose by $100 billion to $780 billion; the balance of payments deficit rose 150 percent to $11.01 billion; unemployment reached 8 million; strikes cost 10 million worker-days; and production of meat and eggs fell below 1989 levels.
Meanwhile, Soviet debt to foreign creditors rose from $58 billion last June to $61 billion this year, according to Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Sitaryan in a newspaper interview published today. Gorbachev has been pressing hard for new loans from the West to help modernize industries, placate consumers with imported goods, and generally ease the transformation to a market system.