Real Swiss jobless rate double official figure: report

George Mills
George Mills - [email protected] • 13 Aug, 2018 Updated Mon 13 Aug 2018 10:52 CEST
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Switzerland's low jobless rate has been something for the authorities to crow about in recent times but new figures suggest the real story may be a fair bit gloomier.

There was more good news about the Swiss job market in July with the official unemployment rate coming in at a healthy 2.4 percent, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The figure of 106,000 people out of work last month was the lowest since the global economic crisis kicked off in autumn 2008 and means 28,000 people have left the jobless queues in the last 12 months.

But a new analysis by the Federal Statistics Office (FSO) detailed in Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag suggests Switzerland’s real unemployment rate may be double the official figure of 2.4 percent – at 4.9 percent.

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That takes some of the shine off international comparisons for Switzerland given unemployment in Germany is currently running at 3.5 percent. In the UK, the figure is 4.1 percent.

The difference in the two figures for Switzerland is down to how unemployment is measured.

The Seco figure is based on the number of people registered at the country’s unemployment offices while the higher FSO figure is based on 120,000 household surveys as per techniques set out by the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO measurements capture people who may have slipped through the cracks in the system. That includes job seekers who are no longer signed on at unemployment agencies because they have ceased to receive benefits, as well as people who have given up hope in the search for a job.

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Meanwhile, Swiss authorities are hoping new measures aimed at giving Swiss-based unemployed people the first bite of the cherry in sectors hard hit by unemployment will bring people back to the unemployment offices.

In July, 30,000 jobs were advertised through Swiss unemployment offices, up around 13,000. Just under half of all the jobs listed were a result of the introduction of the new measures.



George Mills 2018/08/13 10:52

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