Slovak unemployment continued to fall in August, edging down to 6.54% compared to 6.70% in July, according to data released by the Slovak social affairs ministry. On a year-on-year basis unemployment fell 2.89 percentage points.
Long the Achilles’ heel of the Slovak economy, unemployment has been on a strong downward trend since 2013, when it stood above 13%. Now the country’s biggest problem is skill shortages, particularly in the booming car industry, the largest in the world per capita. Foreign investors are reported to be finding it ever harder to find skilled employees, while trade unions have become more militant in pressing for wage increases.
The number of jobseekers immediately able to take up a job was 178,253, a fall of 4,501 individuals on the month and of 78,018 y/y.
Looking at total jobseekers, the number reached 209,918 in August, down 5,577 individuals compared to July and by 84,803 y/y. The unemployment rate calculated from the total number of jobseekers reached 7.70% in August, down by 0.21pp month on month and by 3.15 pp y/y.
All regions registered a fall in unemployment, with the biggest drop in the depressed Presov region in the east of the country.
Labour offices reported 69,104 job vacancies in late August, down by 8,045 vacancies m/m. The highest number of jobs was available in the region of the capital Bratislava, while the lowest was in the eastern Kosice region, demonstrating the country’s continuing problems with labour mobility.
Jan Richter, social affairs minister, highlighted the 5.5pp drop in unemployment among the under 25 year olds, and the record 1.92mn in employment. "Never in the history of Slovakia have so many people been employed in the country. As many as 1.92 million people were employed in August - almost 80,000 more than in 2008," he said.