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The unemployment rate continued its downward trend in December

The problem of unemployment in Slovakia is not the lack of jobs but the unsuitable structure for job seekers.

(Source: TASR)

The unemployment rate in Slovakia keeps decreasing. In December, the registered unemployment rate slipped 0.01percentage points to 5.94 percent against November and 2.82 percentage points against December 2016, based on data produced by the Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Centre (ÚPSVaR).

“I am very glad that we did not go up unlike, for instance, our colleagues in the Czech Republic, where 15,000 people were added to the labour offices’ registers over December and they rose from 3.5 percent measured by national statistics to 3.8 percent,” said Labour Minister Ján Richter as cited by the SITA newswire.

Analyst Ľubomír Koršňák of the UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia sees the cyclic revival of the economy in particular, as being behind the latest drop in unemployment, especially when current economic growth is relatively demanding in terms of the labour force. It no longer benefits from massive investments into the modernisation of the economy, which increased labour productivity and thus reduced the demand for new labour.

Labour offices registered 161,915 jobseekers at the end of last month, down 172 from November. In annualised terms, the number of jobseekers able to take up a job immediately fell by 76,062. The total number of registered jobseekers as of late 2017 represented 195,583, down 472 m-o-m and down 80,548 y-o-y.

Richter is convinced that the downward trend in Slovakia’s unemployment will also continue this year. He expects it may decrease by 1 percentage point.

“If we manage a further decrease, we will be very glad, but this is a goal we consider to be realistic,” said Richter.

Koršňák expects that the growing economy will continue to generate new jobs during the following months and thus decrease the unemployment figures to new historical lows. But the problem of unemployment in Slovakia is not the lack of jobs but the unsuitable structure for job seekers.

Director General of the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs, and Family, Marian Valentovič, added that to satisfy the requirements of the Slovak labour market, Slovakia needs to issue permissions for the arrival of a labour force from non-EU member countries.

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