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Expats hardest hit again as jobless rate rises

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Expats hardest hit again as jobless rate rises
Areas in red highlight cantons with the highest unemployment. Image: Seco
10:12 CET+01:00
Despite economic growth, the unemployment rate continued to rise in Switzerland last month, jumping to 3.5 percent from 3.2 percent in November, with foreigners responsible for most of the increase, government figures showed on Friday.

The share of expats out of work leapt to 6.9 percent in December, up from 6.2 percent the previous month and 6.5 percent a year earlier, a report from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said.

Foreigners accounted for almost half (48.3 percent) of those officially unemployed, the figures showed.

The figures followed a well-established pattern: when the number of people without work in Switzerland expands, expats are hardest hit.

The level of jobless Swiss increased to 2.4 percent from 2.3 percent in November and a year earlier.

At the end of December. a total of 149,437 people were registered for unemployment benefits, 10,364 more than the previous month.

The number of job seekers increased to 205,802, up 9,280 from November.

Switzerland’s average unemployment rate for 2013 rose to 3.2 percent from 2,9 percent in 2012, Seco said.

The jobless rate for December worsened in every canton in the country except Graubünden, where the level dropped to two percent from 2.1 percent.

The biggest increases were recorded in Valais, where the rate swelled to 5.6 percent from 4.2 percent.

Neuchâtel (5.8 percent, up from 5.3 percent) posted the highest unemployment rate in Switzerland, ahead of Valais and Geneva (5.6 percent, up from 5.5 percent).

Obwalden (1.2 percent, up from 1.1 percent) and Nidwalden (1.2 percent, up from one percent) boasted the lowest rates in the country.

The jobless rate in Zurich hit 3.5 percent, up from 3.2 percent, while in Basel City the figure reached 3.9 percent, up from 3.7 percent.

The full report is available (in French, German and Italian) here.

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