Slovakia's unemployment rate edged down to 13.28% in March 2014 from 13.49% the month before, data from the Centre for Labour, Social Affairs and Family showed. In March 2013 the jobless rate stood at 14.68%.
The number of unemployed Slovaks ready to take up a job immediately fell to 358,285 in March from 364,099 in the previous month.
IntelliNews comment: Slovakia's jobless rate is falling for the second month in a row, but remains one of the highest in Europe. Boosting employment is one of the government's top priorities as it plans to introduce financial incentives for employers in order to reduce the long-term and youth unemployment. According to local analysts the jobless rate should stabilise and slightly decrease in 2014 supported by stronger economic activity. The GDP is forecasted to grow by between 2% and 2.3% this year from an estimated 0.9% in 2013. The government expects the unemployment rate to fall to 13.2% in 2015 from 14% estimated for 2014. The rate should continue retreating to 12.3% and to 11.3% in the next two years.
High jobless rates have troubled the nation of 5.4 million since the global economic crisis hit its export-driven economy, fuelled by auto and electronics production, at the end of 2008. Before that, unemployment hit a record low of 7.36% in August 2008.
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