The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic increased to a record-high of 8.6% in January 2014 from 8.2% the month before, in line with market expectations, data from the labour ministry showed. In annual terms the jobless rate was higher by 0.6pps. 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 edged up to 8.2% in January from 8% in December and among men it increased to 9% from 8.3%.
The number of jobseekers stood at 629,274 as of end-January, up by 32,441 from at end-December and by 43,465 higher 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 614,223, up from 582,457 in the previous month.
Job vacancies in the first month of 2014 increased by 1,216 on the month to 36,394 and were higher by 2,600 on the year. Thus, there were 17.3 jobseekers per vacancy, up from 17 in December.
IntelliNews comment: The unemployment rate in the country of 10.5mn averaged 7.7% in 2013. The record-high January figure reflects the fact that despite signs the economy is starting to recover employers remain wary of hiring new staff and so far rely on existing capacity to meet new orders. But the start of seasonal work, mainly in the construction and agriculture, and the gradually recovering economy should bring an improvement on the labour market later this year. The Czech economy exited a record-long recession in mid-2013 and recent indicators such as rising industrial production, new orders, exports and retail sales show that recovery is on track but it will take a while until it affects positively the labour market.
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