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Unemployment on the rise

The construction industry was among the hardest hit sectors

(Keystone)

The number of unemployed in Switzerland rose in August for the first time this year, and stood at 3.6 per cent, 0.1 per cent higher than in July.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) put the increase down largely to seasonal factors, and for that reason predicted the situation would worsen in the coming months.

More than 142,000 Swiss were registered as unemployed in August.

However, Jean-Luc Nordmann, head of Seco's labour division, said the rise was lower than it was in the same month last year.

Particularly affected was the construction industry, where there were 1,000 fewer jobs last month. Also hard-hit were the health-services sector and farming.

Nordmann expressed particular concern about the number of 15- to 24-year-olds out of work. The percentage of unemployed in this age group rose 0.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent in August.

Lack of apprenticeships

He said it was very important for Switzerland to do a better job integrating young adults into the workforce and called on companies to do their part by making more apprenticeships available.

The number of 25- to 49-year-olds and those over 50 out of work remained unchanged in August at 3.5 and 2.9 per cent respectively.

Nordmann predicted an average unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent for the whole year.

He said the job market would not improve before spring 2006, but he warned that a recovery would depend on political events.

He said the job situation would improve if Swiss voters decide on September 25 to open Switzerland's labour market to the European Union's ten new member states.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

There were 142,359 people out of work in August - 2,457 more than in the previous month.
The unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in July to 3.6%.
By the end of the year, Seco predicts there will be 150,000 people unemployed (3.8%).
The 2004 average rate was 4.0%.

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