Czech unemployment rate edges down to 8.3% in March 2014, touch below expectations

By bne IntelliNews April 8, 2014

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic edged down to 8.3% in March 2014 from 8.6% the month before thanks to the start of seasonal work and the recovering economy, data from the labour ministry showed. The reading was a touch below market expectations of 8.4% according to a CTK poll. In annual terms the jobless rate was higher by 0.3pps. The indicator shows the share of jobless people aged between 15 and 64 and immediately able to start work versus all working people in the same demographic group.

Unemployment among women ticked lower to 8% in March from 8.2% the month before and among men it fell to 8.6% from 9%.

The number of jobseekers stood at 608,315 as of end-March, down by 17,075 from at end-February but by 20,547 more than in the same month of 2013. The number of available job seekers, showing how many people registered as unemployed by labour offices are able to start work shortly, in the 15-64 age group, stood at 592,705 in March, down from 610,729 in February.

Job vacancies in the third month of 2014, on the other hand, increased by 2,507 on the month and by 1,945 on the year to 40,808. Thus, there were 14.9 jobseekers per vacancy, down from 16.3 in February.

IntelliNews comment: The unemployment rate in the country of 10.5mn averaged 7.7% in 2013. It hit high levels in the first two months of 2014 but in March started to fall down with the start of seasonal work helped by the warmer weather. We expect the number of jobless Czechs to continue falling in the months to come as the economy is gaining strength after exiting a record-long recession last year. Earlier this week the finance ministry reached a deal with New World Resources (NWR) that will preserve the jobs of more than 2,000 miners for a few more years. NWR was initially planning to close its loss-making mine Paskov by end-2014 but agreed to keep it open until 2017 after the finance ministry said it will provide CZK 600mn (EUR 22mn) to finance a social programme for the miners that will ultimately lose their jobs.

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