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Unemployment rate stays unchanged

Regional employment offices still have plenty of work in Switzerland Keystone

Switzerland's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 per cent last month, despite a slight fall in the number of jobless.

This content was published on March 7, 2005 - 09:42

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said on Monday that there were almost 1,600 fewer people receiving unemployment benefit, leaving a total of 160,451 out of work.

The number of job seekers also fell slightly in February, with nearly 229,000 people registered as looking for employment.

This figure includes people still employed or not immediately available to start a new job.

The number of job vacancies increased last month, rising by over 1,000 to reach 8,648.

The number of workers who saw their hours reduced in January jumped by almost a third to 3,200.

Cutting work hours

Seco said that the number of companies cutting working hours (279) rose by the same amount, but that the number of hours lost increased by nearly 50 per cent.

The figures are an improvement on the same period last year when nearly 600 companies cut their output.

In December over 4,000 people saw their unemployment benefits expire, according to provisional figures.

Two months later, a third of them were still registered as job seekers, while nearly another 600 had managed to find a job.

For the remainder who no longer appear in the statistics, Seco could not say what these people were doing, but suggested they might have left the job market or gone abroad.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Unemployment rate in February: 4.1 per cent.
Number of unemployed: 160,451.
Number of job seekers: 228,701.
Available jobs: 8,648.

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In brief

According to the Federal Migration Office, more and more Germans are taking jobs in Switzerland.

Last year a record 11,992 found full-time work over the border - a rise of 29 per cent on the previous year.

The government said the influx was down to Germany's weak economy and the opening of the Swiss labour market to some European Union countries in 2004.

Unions expressed concern at the big increase, saying it came at a time when the Swiss economy was not growing.

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