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Financial packages soften hits to labour market

The first two financial-stimulus packages infused into the Swiss economy are paying off by preserving jobs, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said on Sunday.

SECO's chief labour economist, Serge Gaillard, said layoffs could have been much worse as the financial boost saved thousands of jobs and even created some.

In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Gaillard said blows to the construction industry had been particularly softened as the money raised more than SFr500 million ($484.5 million) in new contracts.

Gaillard said the country should feel a noticeable improvement in the labour market in 2011. "We're facing a difficult year in 2010," he cautioned.

That has not stopped Gaillard from supporting cost-cutting measures in unemployment insurance, an area targeted by centre-right parties for savings reforms.

The proposal would reduce the number of days that the young and unemployed could receive benefits.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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