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Employment edges up in first quarter

THE ECONOMIC growth of 3.1 percent over the first quarter of 2012 was accompanied by a rise in employment, to 2.2 million people. Compared with the first quarter of 2011, this represented an increase of 0.6 percent, while seasonal adjustment boosted it to 0.7 percent, the Statistics Office announced on May 15.

THE ECONOMIC growth of 3.1 percent over the first quarter of 2012 was accompanied by a rise in employment, to 2.2 million people. Compared with the first quarter of 2011, this represented an increase of 0.6 percent, while seasonal adjustment boosted it to 0.7 percent, the Statistics Office announced on May 15.

“It seems that the labour market has brought in another sign of stabilisation after the weak fourth quarter of 2011,” Andrej Arady, a macro-economist at VÚB Banka, wrote in a bank memo analysing the employment numbers.

Arady specified that the pace of year-to-year growth in employment fell by one half, from 1.3 percent y-o-y during the fourth quarter of 2011 to 0.7 percent y-o-y during the first quarter of 2012, but compared with previous quarter the number of jobs increased by 0.2 percent. This was an improvement compared with the unchanged figures during the final quarter of 2011.

Unemployment not expected to fall

Slovakia will have to wait until June 6 for the latest unemployment figures from the Statistics Office. The last available unemployment statistics released on March 6 for the final quarter of 2011 indicated a halt in the year-on-year decline in unemployment. The average number of unemployed people increased by 4,500 people, or 1.2 percent compared to the final quarter of 2010, to 381,800. The jobless rate jumped by 0.1 percentage points to 14 percent.

Vladimír Baláž, an economist with the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), believes that in spite of the strong economic growth Slovakia’s unemployment will remain high.

“Our GDP has been created with the help of new technologies,” Baláž explained to the Hospodárske Noviny daily. “Thus we cannot expect a significant increase in the number of new working positions.”

He added that only new investments would accomplish this, but said this is not probable.

The rise in aggregate unemployment mirrored an the increase in the number of long-term unemployed, those without a job for more than one year, which rose to 242,500 people and represented 63.5 percent of the total number of unemployed.

The Košice Region topped several statistical ratings during the final quarter of 2011: it had the highest number of unemployed, 75,200; the largest increase in absolute numbers, up by 8,900 people; and the highest unemployment rate of Slovakia's eight regions, at 20.1 percent. Its jobless rate also increased the most from the fourth quarter, by 1.6 percentage points.

THE ECONOMIC growth of 3.1 percent over the first quarter of 2012 was accompanied by a rise in employment, to 2.2 million people. Compared with the first quarter of 2011, this represented an increase of 0.6 percent, while seasonal adjustment boosted it to 0.7 percent, the Statistics Office announced on May 15.

“It seems that the labour market has brought in another sign of stabilisation after the weak fourth quarter of 2011,” Andrej Arady, a macro-economist at VÚB Banka, wrote in a bank memo analysing the employment numbers.

Arady specified that the pace of year-to-year growth in employment fell by one half, from 1.3 percent y-o-y during the fourth quarter of 2011 to 0.7 percent y-o-y during the first quarter of 2012, but compared with previous quarter the number of jobs increased by 0.2 percent. This was an improvement compared with the unchanged figures during the final quarter of 2011.

Unemployment not expected to fall

Slovakia will have to wait until June 6 for the latest unemployment figures from the Statistics Office. The last available unemployment statistics released on March 6 for the final quarter of 2011 indicated a halt in the year-on-year decline in unemployment. The average number of unemployed people increased by 4,500 people, or 1.2 percent compared to the final quarter of 2010, to 381,800. The jobless rate jumped by 0.1 percentage points to 14 percent.

Vladimír Baláž, an economist with the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), believes that in spite of the strong economic growth Slovakia’s unemployment will remain high.

“Our GDP has been created with the help of new technologies,” Baláž explained to the Hospodárske Noviny daily. “Thus we cannot expect a significant increase in the number of new working positions.”
He added that only new investments would accomplish this, but said this is not probable.

The rise in aggregate unemployment mirrored an the increase in the number of long-term unemployed, those without a job for more than one year, which rose to 242,500 people and represented 63.5 percent of the total number of unemployed.

The Košice Region topped several statistical ratings during the final quarter of 2011: it had the highest number of unemployed, 75,200; the largest increase in absolute numbers, up by 8,900 people; and the highest unemployment rate of Slovakia's eight regions, at 20.1 percent. Its jobless rate also increased the most from the fourth quarter, by 1.6 percentage points.

In general, eastern Slovakia continued to top the unemployment numbers as Prešov Region registered the second highest number of the unemployed, 69,000. Absolute numbers of jobseekers decreased in the regions of Bratislava, Trenčín, Nitra and Žilina.

Young and older Slovaks unable to find jobs

It is not only young people who are having trouble finding jobs in Slovakia. Another endangered group consists workers aged 50 and older. Human resource experts at the recent Job Expo jobs fair in Nitra, pointed out that jobseekers over 50 make up 23 percent of all those unemployed, based on statistics from the Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Centre (ÚPSVaR).

Ľubomíra Hnátová, a HR expert, believes that many older people are sometimes too modest in describing their past work experience.

“This generation is not accustomed to making a show of themselves,” Hnátová said, as quoted by the Pravda daily. She added that in the past blowing one’s own trumpet was not considered good form. “So they do not know what to put into their CVs. One 50-year old man had been awarded 40 excellent patents during his career but it seemed to him that it would be too boastful to mention this in his CV.”

Hnátová sees low IT skills as being a bigger problem than older workers' age.

“There is a big gap between the young and the old,” she said. “Without internet skills you cannot get a job nowadays. There are many older workers who lack skills in new technology and this, rather than age, makes it difficult for them to find jobs.”

Topic: Career and HR


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