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Jobless rate remains steady

The unemployment rate is steady Keystone Archive

Switzerland's unemployment rate was 2.6 per cent in February, the same as the previous month.

This content was published on March 8, 2002 - 08:58

The number of unemployed rose slightly to 94,472 from 93,714 in January, according to the latest figures from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. There were 10,859 job vacancies, up more than ten per cent on January.

The steady rate of unemployment and the rise in the number of vacancies has been seized on by the government as further evidence that the worst of the economic downturn is over.

Switzerland's jobless rate still compares well with those of its European neighbours. France has 9.3 per cent unemployment, Germany eight per cent and Italy 9.2 per cent.

The 15-member European Union rate is 7.8 per cent, ranging from 2.2 per cent in the Netherlands to 12.9 per cent in Spain.

But jobless figures in Switzerland would be closer to its European neighbours, if judged by the standards of the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation.

In December, the ILO said if its own data were used to calculate Swiss unemployment the figure would be around 120,000. Seco reported jobless figures of around 70,000 for December. ILO data is used to work out the EU jobless rate.

The ILO defines an unemployed person as someone aged 15 or older who is out of work, available to start work in two weeks and having actively sought employment at some time in the past four weeks.

Swiss data is based on the job office register. A significant difference between the two calculation methods is made up of married women who want a job but are not officially registered as unemployed.

Seco, however, argues that calculations based on the ILO method do not keep a good track of monthly changes.

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