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Work worries Swiss unemployment shows rising trend

The upward trend in unemployment has received little public attention.

(Keystone)

According to a new report from the Swiss Economic Institute, Switzerland’s unemployment rate has been creeping upward over the past 20 years, with younger people and those with less education affected most.

When compared with other countries, Switzerland’s 2014 unemployment rate of 4.4% does not seem extreme. But according to the Economic Institute (KOF) at the Swiss Federal Technology Institute ETH Zurich, this figure reflects an overall increasing trend since 1996.

KOF researchers say that the increase in unemployed Swiss, and in the long-term unemployment rate, is likely more than just a cyclical blip. Using data from the Swiss Labour Force Survey, they determined that between 2003 and 2005, and between 2012 and 2014, unemployment continued to grow despite a steady, or even increasing, overall number of job vacancies.

The risk of unemployment or underemployment has increased among those with less education; for example, those with a general school-leaving certificate or teaching college diploma as their highest qualification.

Youth unemployment in particular is on the rise: about 7% of young workers are unemployed today, compared with 5% in the early 1990s. For older adults, long-term unemployment continues to be the top concern.

Even though they still face a higher risk of unemployment than men with similar education and training, women’s risk of unemployment actually decreased in the period studied.

Finally, the researchers identified the relationship between unemployment and field of work: those in medium-paid jobs, such as office clerks and machine operators, face the greatest risk of becoming unemployed, because these types of jobs are dwindling compared to higher and lower-paid jobs.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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