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Jobless rate reaches two-year high

Unemployment in Switzerland has risen to its highest level in nearly two years.

The rate of unemployment rose to three per cent in December 2008, up from 2.7 per cent in November, and the highest level since March 2007, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said on Thursday.

The figures were worse than forecast.

The total number of jobless rose by 11,110 to 118,762 in December and the number of vacancies fell by 2,183 to 9,744, the lowest since January 2006.

The winter usually sees unemployment rise, in particular in the building industry. However, seasonal factors did not account for the total number of job losses. The economic situation is also to blame, with industry hit by falling exports.

The downturn came after a promising start to the year; during the summer unemployment was at its lowest level since 2002.

The figure is expected to rise to 3.3 per cent this year and 4.3 per cent in 2010, Seco said.


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