Swiss jobless rate falls below three percent

Unemployment in Switzerland fell below three percent in June for the first time in a year, according to government figures released on Monday.

Swiss jobless rate falls below three percent
Jobless rate in June by canton. Graph: Seco

The jobless rate dropped to 2.9 percent from three percent in May, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said in its monthly report.

A total of 126,632 unemployed were registered at regional job centres in June, down 3,678 from the previous month.

The decline marked the fourth month in a row that the jobless rate fell, although year-over-year it remained unchanged.

Unemployment among foreigners fell to 5.5 from 5.8 percent, while the rate for Swiss citizens remained unchanged at 2.1 percent, Seco said.

The jobless rate either dropped or remained unchanged in all cantons.

Geneva registered the highest rate (5.4 percent, down from 5.3 percent) while three cantons — Uri, Obwalden and Nidwalden — recorded the lowest rate of 0.9 percent.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.1 from 3.2 percent in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest job market.

The cantons of Valais (3.3 percent, down from 3.8 percent) and Graubünden (1.3 percent, down from 1.8 percent) recorded the largest rate reductions.

The number of job vacancies advertised in regional job centres rose to 14,211 in June, up 1,054 from the previous month.

For the full report (in German, also available in French and Italian), check here.

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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