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Jobless figures climb to five year high

The Swiss unemployment rate has risen to four per cent for the first time in nearly five years.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said on Friday that there were more than 158,000 people registered as jobless at the end of October – 3,729 more than a month earlier.

Even more dramatically, the unemployment rate has increased by 57 per cent compared with October 2008.

Those aged 15-24 are still the group hardest hit by the economic crisis, with 5.3 per cent out of work.

"I hope the third economic stimulus package parliament approved in September will help improve the situation for young people," said Economics Minister Doris Leuthard.

However, she cautioned that the overall jobless rate will continue to rise and reach more than five per cent next year.

Switzerland's export-driven economy has been dragged down by decreasing international demand and by its banks becoming entangled in the financial crisis.

The centre-left Social Democratic Party has called for improvements to the unemployment benefit system. It wants to extend the payments to more than 500 days and launch a re-training scheme for young unemployed.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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