Unemployment in Switzerland rose again in January to reach 4.1 per cent of the workforce – the highest rate in 11 months.
However, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) says the increase masks a more complex overall picture.
Monthly figures published on Monday show that 162,000 people were officially registered as jobless in January – up 3,600 from December.
The total number of people looking for jobs also increased by 1,990 to 229,624.
The higher figure includes all those who are registered as seeking work, but are currently still employed or otherwise not immediately available to start a new job.
At the same time, however, the number of job vacancies in January jumped by 1,257 month-on-month, to reach 7,616.
According to Seco employment director Jean-Luc Nordmann, the rise in the number of jobless was in line with, or even slightly below, expectations.
Taking account of seasonal variations, the employment situation actually improved for the fifth month in a row.
Nordmann said improved macro-economic conditions had not yet made their presence felt in the employment statistics.
However, he expressed optimism that the situation would improve in the course of 2005.
He predicted an average 2005 jobless figure of 145,000, or 3.7 per cent.
swissinfo with agencies
Switzerland’s official jobless rate rose to 4.1% in January – from 4.0% in December.
Geneva remains the hardest hit region, with an unemployment rate of 7.5%.
The annual unemployment rate for 2004 was 3.9%.
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