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Jobless rate dip defies economic doldrums

The unemployment rate in Switzerland fell to 3.2 percent in March from 3.4 percent in the previous month, according to government statistics released on Tuesday that suggest the Swiss economy is continuing to defy the economic doldrums in Europe.

Jobless rate dip defies economic doldrums
Photo: Canton of Geneva

The jobless level remained higher than in March 2012 when the rate was 2.9 percent, and above the average rates of 2.9 percent for 2012 and 2.8 percent for 2011, the state secretariat for the economy (Seco) said. 

The number of registered job seekers in the country dropped to 194,224 people last month, 6,271 fewer than in February, Seco said.

The number of vacant posts in March remained virtually unchanged from the previous month at 16,022.

The unemployment rate either dropped or remained the same in all cantons of the country in March when compared to the previous month, according to the Seco figures.

Geneva recorded the highest rate of 5.3 percent, down from 5.4 percent, while Obwald and Nidwald recorded the lowest in the country at one percent.

The rate was unchanged from the previous month in Obwald and down from 1.1 percent in Nidwald.

In the canton of Zurich, the country’s biggest job market, the jobless rate fell to 3.2 from 3.3 percent.

Valais recorded the biggest drop in unemployment in percentage terms, falling to 4.2 percent from 4.9 percent, followed by Ticino (4.6 percent, down from 5.1 percent).

Among other cantons, the rate fell to five percent in Vaud from 5.3 percent, while Neuchâtel dropped to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent, Basel-City declined to 3.9 percent from four percent and Bern dipped to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent.  

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ZURICH

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

The Covid pandemic hit Switzerland hard, although the country's largest city has rebounded strongly.

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

Measures imposed due to the Covid pandemic, which began in earnest in February 2020, shuttered businesses across the country and pushed many people out of work. 

When most notable Covid rules were relaxed in Switzerland in mid-February 2022, the economic recovery – highlighted by a strong job market – began in earnest in 2021. 

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Nowhere was this more evident than Zurich, Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful city. 

How did Zurich rebound from the Covid pandemic in comparison to the rest of the country?

Even though Zurich, along with other large Swiss cities like Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne, have been hit hard by the pandemic from the employment perspective, Zurich’s labour market is now growing faster than in other urban centres.

One of the reasons for this upward trend is that young, well-educated foreigners are coming back.

In the first nine months of 2021, the city’s population grew significantly.

In September alone, it recorded 2,200 additional residents.

This is mainly due to people with a B residence permit, according to Klemens Rosin, methodologist at Zurich’s Statistics Office.

During the crisis, far fewer of them left the city. “This group is made up of well-educated, younger and mobile foreigners who have made a significant contribution to Zurich’s growth”, Rosin said.

Zurich’s employment market is expect to grow even further.

READ MORE: How hard is finding work in Zurich without speaking German?

That’s because in the coming years, many Zurich workers will retire — an estimated  210,000 by year 2050 — creating more job opportunities for younger employees.

In fact, according to a study commissioned by the canton in 2021, if Zurich’s economy is to continue to flourish, it will need around 1.37 million workers by mid-century.

If these vacancies will not be filled, then income, tax revenue and the financing of social security programs will be impacted.

READ MORE: Have your say: What’s the best way to find a job in Zurich

While it is difficult to predict what jobs will be most in demand in 2050 — what new technologies will emerge in the meantime — right now and in medium term, IT workers will be especially needed, experts say, because businesses will continue to to digitalise and automate.

Lower skilled jobs will also be in higher demand, including hospitality, retail and transport. 

With hundreds of thousands of vacancies to fill, people with the permission to work in Switzerland are likely to be flush with offers – particularly skilled workers with recognised qualifications. 

READ MORE: Why finding a job in Switzerland is set to become easier 

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