Swiss jobless rate falls for third straight month

Switzerland's unemployment rate dropped for the third month in a row last month, according to figures released by Bern on Tuesday.

Swiss jobless rate falls for third straight month

The country's jobless rate dipped to 3.1 percent in April, down from 3.2 percent in the previous month, although it remained above the 2.8 percent level for April 2012, the state secretariat for the economy (Seco) said in a report.

The number of people seeking work last month totalled 190,367, down by 3,857 from March, while 8.1 percent higher than in April 2012, the report said.

Meantime, the number of vacant positions rose to 16,135 last month, up 113 from March.

Unemployment either dropped month-on-month or remained unchanged across the country except for the cantons of Geneva and Graubünden, Seco said.

Geneva posted the highest rate at 5.5 percent, up from 5.3 percent the previous month and 4.9 percent a year earlier.

Graubünden’s rate rose by 0.6 points to 2.2 percent.

The central Swiss cantons of Obwald and Nidwald shared the honours for lowest unemployment rate at 0.9 percent, down in each case from one percent the previous month.

Jobless levels remained unchanged in Zurich (3.2 percent) and Vaud (five percent), while dipping 0.1 points in Bern (2.3 percent), Basel-City (3.8 percent), Valais (4.1 percent) and Neuchâtel (5.1 percent).

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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