SLOVAKIA’S GDP rose by 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the Statistics Office (ŠÚ) announced, confirming its flash estimate from May. Analysts attribute the growth mostly to an increase in domestic demand.

GDP increased by 1.9 percentage points faster in the first quarter of 2014 than in the same period of 2013. In the quarter-on-quarter comparison, Slovakia’s economy grew by 0.6 percent. The volume of GDP in common prices increased to €17.022 billion, which is a 1.9 percent rise, according to the ŠÚ.

For the second quarter in a row, economic growth was affected by an annual increase in foreign and domestic demand. Regarding foreign demand, export rose by 4.7 percentage points y/y to 9.6 percent, while imports rose by 8.3 percentage points y/y to 10.8 percent, the ŠÚ reported.

Analysts say that it was mostly a revival in household consumption, which has been weak for the past two years.

“The important signal is that the focal point of the growth remained in domestic demand for the second quarter in a row,” said Andrej Arady, analyst with VÚB bank, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that for nine subsequent quarters it was foreign demand that drove the economy.

He also attributed the rise to the consumption of public administrations, which grew by 4.4 percent y/y.

Regarding unemployment, the number of jobless dropped by 3.2 percent y/y to 382,900 in the first quarter of 2014, while the unemployment rate dropped by 0.4 percentage points y/y to 14.1 percent.

The number of long-term unemployed, however, increased in annual terms. Compared to the first quarter of 2013 it grew by 8,400 to 263,600, with their share on the total unemployment rate increasing by 4.3 percent to 68.8 percent. The number of people without a job for less than one year fell by 20,900 to 119,300. The most numerous group regarding age were people aged 25-34, whose number stood at 120,400 (31.4 percent of the total number of jobless) in the first quarter of 2014, the ŠÚ informed.