The unemployment rate in Slovakia rose by 0.85 percentage points year-on-year in December to reach 14.44 percent, the Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Centre (ÚPSVaR) reported on Monday, January 21. Meanwhile, unemployment went up by 0.25 percentage points on a monthly basis.
Job centres in December recorded 390,111 jobseekers immediately available to take up a new job. The figure went up by 28,000 jobless year-on-year. In total, there were 425,858 unemployed people registered at job centres. This figure also included those who were not eligible to start work immediately. The highest unemployment rate was posted in the Banská Bystrica region (20.81 percent), ahead of the Prešov region (20.66 percent) and Košice region (19.58 percent).
In terms of districts, Rimavská Sobota district in the Banská Bystrica region ended up with the highest unemployment rate with 35.59 percent. Conversely, Bratislava I district retained the lowest unemployment rate in December at 4.15 percent.
The record-high unemployment rate is partially a result of a stagnating economy and poor demand, said Peter Paška of personnel agency ProAct People Slovensko on Monday. He claims that mass lay-offs in 2012 were caused by the stagnating economy, which was a result of lower demand. Paška cautioned, however, that the prospects for the most vulnerable groups of jobseekers – school graduates, the long-term unemployed and people older than 45 years of age – are not good. In this regard, he recommends that people in these categories should look for work outside Slovakia, even if it is only part time.
The growth in the number of unemployed has been caused by the unflattering economic situation as well as by the legislative changes adopted by the government, analysts concluded in reaction to the unemployment statistics published earlier on Monday. Slovenská Sporiteľňa analyst Martin Baláž said that Slovakia's economic deceleration reflects the deceleration in the eurozone.
"A part of the [unemployment] growth may be explained by the attempts of employers to avoid higher costs involved in laying off employees as of January 1, 2013. They transferred some of the redundancies meant to be carried out later to the end of last year," said VÚB macro-economist Andrej Arady for TASR.
The next few months may bring partial compensation in the form of slower growth in the number of unemployed. The chances for improvement in Slovakia's labour market are still poor, however. "Low economic growth or stagnation, growing taxes and social security contributions along with a more stringent Labour Code put the brakes on job creation as well as on salary growth" said Arady.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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