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Swiss jobless rate low by international comparison


By Matthew Allen



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Two days after Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann warned that the days of low unemployment in Switzerland are over, a six-year high jobless rate of 3.8% was announced. But how does this compare with some of the major economies around the world?

As each country has its own statistical method of working out jobless data, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has developed a harmonised model that shows a direct comparison between different nations.

This explains why the figures in the graph above are different from those presented by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Tuesday and other official government unemployment data around the world.

Nevertheless, the ILO model confirms the commonly held perception that Switzerland’s rate of unemployment is low compared to some of the major economies. This has been the case over the last decade, with other countries showing far greater turbulence.

The rates in Germany and China, two of the world’s economic engines led by vastly different political systems, are nearly as low as those in Switzerland. In fact, Germany’s jobless rate has more than halved since 2006, but doubts persist about the accuracy of China’s official data that forms the basis of the ILO’s calculations.

The United States, after a recovery in the past several years, still has a rate far above that of Switzerland. And despite Japan’s continuing economic woes, its jobless rate fell below Switzerland three years ago.

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