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Swiss official unemployment rate at six year high

Published on 07/01/2011

Switzerland's unemployment rate reached an average of 3.9 percent in 2010, the highest level for six years, the Swiss economy ministry said on Friday.

That compared with 3.7 percent in 2009.

“The situation on the jobs market eased thanks to a swifter and better than expected recovery,” the ministry’s secretariat (SECO) said in a statement

By the end of December 148,636 people were registered as unemployed, as the jobless rate grew by 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent for the month, having fallen back for much of the year with the end of the recession.

By comparison unemployment in the neighbouring eurozone reached a historic high of 10.1 percent of the working population by the end of October.

Average unemployment in Switzerland is expected to ease slightly to 3.4 percent in 2011 and 2012, according to data given Friday by the SECO.

A survey by employment agency Manpower last month found that 88 percent of 786 employers questioned in Switzerland did not plan to increase their staffing levels, while eight percent expected to increase their workforce.

Analysts at Moody’s Economy cautioned that the improvement in the Swiss labour market would be dampened in the first half of 2011 as the recovery slows with weakening exports.

“Unemployment is expected to trend around current rates until mid-2011 before gradually falling,” they said.