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Job market worsens in July

The number of jobs on the market fell in July Keystone

The number of registered jobless in Switzerland rose slightly in July by 1,214 to 141,699 - the first increase in four months.

But the economics ministry said the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6 per cent, amid increasing concern over job security.

Jean-Luc Nordmann, head of employment at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), said although there was a rise in the number of jobless in July, the results were still largely positive.

“The increase is not as much as we expected,” said Nordmann.

Nordmann added that the jobless figure normally fell in July due to seasonal employment trends.

“All in all, the figures show that there has been no reversal of the trend in the job market,” said Nordmann.

Seco estimates that the average unemployment rate for the year is likely to rise to between 3.8 per cent and 3.9 per cent, with 150,000 people without jobs.

The organisation predicts that the rate will peak by January 2004.

The number of those looking for a job also increased to 203,712 – 1,793 more than in June. But the actual number of jobs available fell.

New jobless law

Seco says one of the reasons behind the rise in the number of those seeking work is the introduction of a revised unemployment law on July 1, 2003.

Under the changes, the period during which unemployment benefit can be claimed has been cut by a quarter from 520 days to 400.

This means that payments have ceased for more than 4,000 workers who have been on the dole for over 18 months, and they are now classed as job seekers.

Rita Baldegger, a Seco spokesman, told swissinfo that Seco had already recorded an extra 1,796 people looking for work by July 23.

She said that Seco estimated that the figure could rise to 2,500 people for the whole of July.

Youth unemployment higher

Youth unemployment in Switzerland is also on the rise and stands at 4.4 per cent for July, compared with an overall jobless rate of 3.6 per cent.

On Thursday Seco called on employers to create more work experience placements for young people aged between 15 and 24 years old.

Launching the campaign, Nordmann said that although the number of young people out of work was higher than the average, it was no cause for alarm.

He said that the figure was still fairly low in Switzerland compared with other countries.

However, Nordmann underlined that internships were an important means of increasing the chances of young people in the job market.

Last year, the federal authorities contributed SFr7.4 million ($5.5 million) towards establishing internships.

swissinfo with agencies

The Swiss unemployment rate held steady in July at 3.6 per cent.
The number of jobless people rose slightly by 1,214 to 141,699.
Seco estimates that the average unemployment rate for the year is will be 3.8 per cent to 3.9 per cent.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR