Swiss unemployment rate remains stable

The unemployment rate remained flat at 3.4 per cent in February, according to figures released by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) on Wednesday.

This content was published on March 7, 2012 - 10:57 and agencies

According to the report, the total number of unemployed people in Switzerland getting employment benefit was 133,154, or 1,163 less than January.

Compared with February 2011, the number of unemployed people was down 10,171, or -7.1 per cent.

The jobless rate for the 15-24 age bracket was slightly down on January by 1.7 per cent and concerned 19,080 people. It was 2,200 lower than February 2011.

Seco chief Serge Gaillard said when adjusted seasonally unemployment had actually increased by 921 people, which was the fifth month in a row with a small increase.

He believed seasonal variations would also have a positive influence on next month’s figures but that the general unemployment trend was upwards until the end of the year.

However, some analysts saw certain signs for optimism.

“It appears that Switzerland is avoiding a severe economic contraction,” Jörg Züner, an analyst with VP Bank, told Reuters. “The main indicators are stabilising or pointing towards a stagnation. The same goes for the job market.”

David Marmet, chief Swiss economist at Zurich Cantonal Bank, agreed that the February rate was a favourable development that was in line with the main economic indicators.

“It shows that the Swiss economy has touched the bottom and seems to be in better condition than what was expected six months ago; the downturn is less sharp than initially feared.”

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