Swiss jobless rates continue to rise

Swiss jobless rates continue to rise
Photo: Canton of Geneva
More signs of Switzerland’s slowing economy emerged in the final month of 2012 as the country’s jobless rate rose to 3.3 percent, up from 3.1 percent in November.

A total of 142,309 people were registered as unemployed in December, 10,242 more people than the previous month, according to figures released on Tuesday by the state secretariat for the economy (Seco).

The number of people without a job jumped 8.9 percent year over year, Seco said.

The canton of Valais was particularly hard hit, with unemployment levels rising to 5.3 percent in December from four percent the previous month.

The average number of people unemployed in 2012 rose to close to 125,600, around 2,700 more than in 2011.

Seco nevertheless tried to put the figures in context, noting that they were among the best three years in the last decade.

Jobless rates remained significantly worse in French- and Italian-speaking parts of the country (4.8 percent overall, up from 4.4 percent in November) than in German-speaking cantons (2.7 percent overall, up from 2.5 percent).

Unemployment among foreigners rose significantly to 6.5 percent percent last month, up from 5.8 percent a year earlier.

The canton of Neuchâtel recorded the highest jobless rate at year’s end (5.4 percent, up from five percent in November), while Obwald registered the lowest rate at just one percent (unchanged).

 Zurich’s rate mirrored the national average, rising to 3.3 percent from 3.1 percent in November.

The canton of Geneva, with the second worst jobs record in the country, saw its rate increase in December to 5.3 percent from 5.2 percent the previous month, although this was slightly lower than the 5.4 percent recorded at the end of 2011.

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