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Switzerland heading towards full employment

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since 1992. The economics ministry said the rate fell last month from 2.4 per cent in February to 2.3 per cent, with white-collar industry showing the biggest growth.

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since 1992. The economics ministry said the rate fell last month from 2.4 per cent in February to 2.3 per cent, with white-collar industry showing the biggest growth. The employment office in the ministry's state secretariat said it now expects the average for this year to drop to two per cent, 0.3 per cent below its earlier forecasts.

"All economic indicators point upwards," said Jean-Luc Nordmann, head of the office, "we are on the way to full employment." Nordmann said that some branches of industry were now having difficulty finding workers. The number of people looking for jobs fell nearly 8,000 to 140,000 in March, while the number of employment vacancies rose slightly to 15,000.

Analysts said the service industry had probably created the most jobs, and said fears that the marked improvement might lead to inflationary pressures were being downplayed at present.

However, unemployment rates continue to differ greatly between regions, particularly between German and French-speaking cantons. They averaged about 0.5 per cent in parts of central and eastern Switzerland last month, but reached 4.5 in canton Geneva and 3.7 in Italian-speaking canton Ticino.

The biggest drop was recorded in canton Valais, where it fell more than one per cent to 2.6 per cent.

swissinfo with agencies

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