Unemployment: Swiss jobless rate lowest in a decade

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 8 Jan, 2019 Updated Tue 8 Jan 2019 09:55 CEST
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The average monthly unemployment rate in Switzerland last year was 2.6 percent, the lowest figure in ten years, according to figures published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Tuesday.

The 2017 monthly average unemployment rate was 3.2 percent while in 2016 that figure was 3.3 percent.

In a statement, SECO said the 2018 figures showed the Swiss economy and job market were both in robust health.

Read also: Here are the jobs that need filling in Switzerland

The figures show that the monthly average for the number of people registered as out of work with the country’s job offices last year was 118,103, down 25,039 (or 17.5 percent) on 2017.

Meanwhile, the average monthly youth unemployment rate in 2018 was 2.4 percent, down 0.7 percent on a year earlier. The same rate for people aged 50 and over also dipped slightly to 2.5 percent.

December figures

The jobless rate for December was 2.7 percent, or 2.4 percent after seasonal adjustment.

Of the 119,661 people registered as looking for work at the end of last month, 51.1 percent were Swiss while 48.9 percent were foreign nationals

A total of 15,993 people – or 13.4 percent of all registered job seekers – had been unemployed for at least 12 months.

Is this real jobless rate higher?

An analysis by the Federal Statistics Office (FSO) detailed in Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag in August last year suggested Switzerland's real unemployment rate may actually have been double the official figure at the time of 2.4 percent – at 4.9 percent.

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

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.





The Local 2019/01/08 09:55

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