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Jobless rate falls for first time in nine months

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Jobless rate falls for first time in nine months
Cantons marked in red have the highest jobless rates (over four percent). Graphic: Seco
09:48 CEST+02:00
Switzerland's unemployment rate dropped in March for the first time in nine months to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent the previous month as more foreigners found jobs, government figures released on Tuesday show.

The number of people registered for jobless benefits fell by 6,413 to 142,846, although the unemployment rate for last month remained 2.8 percent higher than in March 2013, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said.

The monthly jobs report showed the percentage of foreigners out of work tumbled to 6.5 percent from 6.9 percent, while the unemployment rate of Swiss citizens edged downward to 2.3 percent from 2.4 percent.

Among the bright signs for job seekers was a rise in vacancies, with 14,741 positions unfilled in March, an increase of 699 from February.

The unemployment rate either dropped or remained unchanged in all 26 cantons.

Geneva recorded the highest jobless rate at 5.6 percent, unchanged from the previous month, while Obwalden and Nidwalden (one percent, down from 1.1 percent) shared honours for the lowest rate.

Neuchâtel, which in February had the highest unemployment rate, registered a drop to 5.4 from 5.7 percent.

The largest percentage declines were chalked up in Ticino (4.5 percent, down from 5.1 percent) and Valais (4.4 percent, down from five percent).

The rate in Switzerland’s largest job market, Zurich, dropped to 3.4 from 3.5 percent.

Forecasters have predicted that the country’s unemployment will continue to drop this year as the economy grows at a faster clip than in 2013.

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