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Czech unemployment reaches record low

Unemployment in the Czech Republic dropped to 4.9% in Q4 2007, the lowest figure in 10 years, and was 1.7% points lower year-on-year.

The figures released by the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) are different than those published by the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry which uses a different methodology and said the unemployment rate stood at 5.8% in Q4 2007.

The jobless numbered 252,800, of whom 143,600 were women. The overall number was 86,500, or some 25%, lower year-on-year, and the lowest since mid-1997.

“Looking at the impressive data, one has to ask the question of where good news ends and bad news begins,” UniCredit Bank analyst Pavel Sobisek told CTK.

Sobisek said economy is probably losing its ability to grow thanks to higher labor productivity and its growth will now depend more on the labor force and particularly on foreign labor force.

CSOB analyst Petr Dufek said nearly a half of the unemployed have been unemployed for one year or more. By this factor, the Czech Republic is the fifth worst in the EU, said Dufek.

Employed people numbered 4.967 million, that is 105,600, or 2.2%, more year-on-year. The number of working secondary school graduates increased significantly (+66,600), and employed university and higher professional school graduates were up too (+28,100), which is generally connected with a rapid growth of education level of the population, the CSU said.

The number of employees increased by 97,400 year-on-year to 4,155,100 million and their share in total employment made up 83.6%. The number of members of producer cooperatives further decreased by 1,800 to 13,200 persons.

The number of the self-employed including family workers recorded a year-on-year rise of 10,200 to 798,700 and the share of the self-employed sector in total employment slightly decreased compared to Q4 2006 and reached 16.1%.

The number of the self-employed with employees fell by 30.300 to 173.200 and the number of family workers dropped by 4.400 to 28.400, the number of the self-employed without employees increased significantly by 44.900 to 597.100, the CSU said.

Male unemployment dropped by 44,900, and female unemployment decreased by 41,600 year-on-year.

A majority of all the unemployed (71.5%) are persons with secondary education without school-leaving examination and persons with basic education.

The number of persons unemployed for one year or more decreased by 62,300 year-on-year to 122,800 and their percentage is below half of all the unemployed (48.6%).

The regional unemployment rates ranged from 2.2% in Prague and 2.7% in the Stredocesky region to 8.3%in the Karlovarsky region and 9.3% in the Ustecky region.

The decrease of unemployment rate showed itself in all of the regions, the most in those with persistent high or above-the-average unemployment rates, i.e. in the Moravskoslezsky, Liberecky and Ustecky regions. Lower unemployment rates are steadily recorded for university graduates (1.8%) and persons having full secondary education with school-leaving examination (3.0%).

A high unemployment rate persists among persons with basic education (19.6%) and an above-the-average unemployment rate (5.1%) is still in the large group of persons with secondary education without school-leaving examination, including vocational school graduates.

Dufek said unemployment is expected to continue falling this year and some companies may find hiring new staff increasingly difficult. (praguemonitor)