Slovakia sees rise in unemployment
Slovakia’s unemployment rate reached 13.6% in December 2011, its highest level since July 2004.
Analysts reportedly conceded that an increase in unemployment is normal for the final month of the year since unemployment traditionally goes up owing to the end of winter seasonal work. Nevertheless, forecasts for 2012 look quite negative.
Slovakia recorded the third highest unemployment rate among all member countries of the OECD, which recorded an average unemployment rate across its member countries of 8.2 percent in November 2011. The rate reached 13.5 percent in November, with only Spain (22.9 percent jobless rate) and Ireland (14.6 percent) recording worse figures, according to the SITA news wire.
The IT and telecoms sectors reported the largest relative growth, when the number of its employees rose by 13.3 percent in November 2011 compared with November 2010.
The industrial sector reported a 2.8-percent growth in employment, meaning that the moderate growth that started in May 2011 continued into November. The construction sector registered an employment drop of 3.7 percent.
Over the first 11 months of 2011, the industrial sector employed an average of 499,500 persons, with 451,600 of these in manufacturing. The construction sector employed an average of 173,300 people and the retail trade had an average of 153,600 employees.
The Slovak Spectator, an English-language weekly, reports that the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family has prepared seven projects to combat long-term unemployment during the period from 2012 to 2015 with the aim of generating 10,000 jobs with the help of both the public and private sectors as well as funds from the EU. Four of the projects, however, are connected to the legislation on employment services that will not be debated in parliament until a new government takes office after the March elections.
Only three of the projects were launched in January, with a castle renovation initiative being the most well-known as it is actually a continuation of a pilot project from 2010. The plan envisions the reconstruction of 10 to 20 castles and other cultural sites, providing between 830 and 900 jobs over three years.
The ministry will leave the remaining programs for decision-making and implementation by the next government.