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Joblessness still tops Swiss list of worries

(Keystone)

Unemployment, health and old age pensions remain the biggest concerns for the Swiss, according to an annual survey.

The report published by the bank, Credit Suisse, on Monday showed the top worries haven't changed over the past four years.

Two thirds of those interviewed said their main concern was keeping their jobs, while health and pension issues came second with 55 per cent and 51 per cent respectively.

The study found that an increasing number of people with average salaries and people below the age of 39 years old were expressing concern over joblessness compared with a similar survey four years ago.

The official jobless rate currently stands at 3.1 per cent.

However, elderly people – as expected – saw health and pension as their main issues.

Overall the top three items on the worry barometer have remained largely unchanged since 2003.

Refugees and asylum seekers (39 per cent), poverty (28 per cent), foreigners (27 per cent) and salaries (26 per cent) were next on the list.

According to the report's authors, the percentage of the population concerned about poverty has remained constant, which is seen as a sign of solidarity.

The report is based on interviews with more than 1,000 people conducted by the gfs Bern research institute in August and September.

Insecurity

This latest study follows on from another opinion survey, published last week, which found that two out of three people in Switzerland felt uneasy about the pace of change in society.

The report said the results confirmed assumptions that permanent technological change, restructuring in the economy and immigration over the past decade was leading to a feeling of insecurity among many people, notably the less well-off and the elderly.

Researchers said traditional views of society have regained support over the past few years.

They pointed out that just 34 per cent of respondents found being single was positive, down from 60 per cent in 2002.

The survey also revealed that one in three people preferred a traditional family model with the wife staying at home and the man as the sole breadwinner.

Many people said they were in favour of sharing housework - but nevertheless the study found that women were still responsible for the bulk of the chores in three out of four partnerships.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Top ten problems in 2006 in comparison with 2005:

Unemployment: 66% (-5%)
Healthcare: 55% (+4%)
Old age pension: 51% (+6%)

Refugees: 39% (+11%)
Poverty: 28% (-1%)
Foreigners: 27% (-3%)
Salaries: 26% (+5%)
Inflation: 19% (+7%)
Social security: 19% (+4%)
European integration: 18% (-1%)

end of infobox


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