The Swiss unemployment rate fell from 3.3% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017, according to figures released by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Tuesday.
In terms of actual numbers, 143,142 people were registered as unemployed, a decrease of 6,175 compared with the year before. The fall was particularly marked in the first half of the year, with some 30,000 fewer registered jobseekers until June. The situation then stagnated, before picking up again in November and especially in December, mainly due to seasonal factors.
Youth unemployment (15-24 years) experienced its usual increase in August, when students complete their training. Over the year as a whole, however, young people were less affected than in 2016 with an average unemployment rate of 3.1% (down from 3.4%). On the other hand, there was no change among older workers (over 50), whose unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.8%.
The French-speaking canton of Neuchâtel recorded the highest unemployment rate at 5.6%, while cantons Obwalden and Appenzell Inner Rhoden reported the lowest rates at 0.9%.
At the end of the year the regional unemployment offices had 11,991 vacancies, an increase of 1,408 over the previous year.