February jobless rate rises to 16.5%

Slovakia's jobless rate rose to 16.5% from 16.33% in February, the Labour Office said on March 19. The total number of jobless people immediately available for work - the figure used by the Labour office to calculate unemployment - hit 439,845 in February, up from 434,840 in January. The absolute number of unemployed people was 463,625, or almost 17.4% of the workforce.

From the viewpoint of districts, eastern and central Slovakia continued to be the hardest hit, with Rimavská Sobota reporting 33.82% unemployment, followed by Revuca (33.13%) and Veľký Krtiš (30.66%). Bratislava IV, III and II districts again posted the lowest unemployment, showing levels of between 3.09 and 4.13%.

The number of job seekers living on unemployment benefits increased 2.8% to 148,386 in February. For every free job, there were 43 registered jobless people; free jobs totaled 10,894 in February, down 273 jobs from January.

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