The annual Swiss unemployment rate rose to 3.3% in 2016, a 0.1 point increase on the previous year, according to figures released by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Tuesday. This may appear insignificant compared to the average European unemployment rate of 9.8% but it hides the very real problem of those forced to make up for the financial loss faced by their employers due to the strong franc.
A total of 6,459 workers were made to reduce working hours in October 2016 compared with 5,981 in October 2015, a sign that certain parts of the Swiss economy – mainly exporters – are still feeling the pain of the Swiss National Bank’s decision to stop pegging the Swiss franc to the euro on January 15, 2015. Less than two weeks after this decision the government allowed companies to introduce short-time work – in which people work fewer hours while the state tops up their pay – in the hope that it would help preserve jobs.
The unemployed registered at the regional employment centers were 159'372 in December, less than earlier in the year. The largest increase occurred in November and December, mainly due to seasonal variations.
Contrary to other European countries, Switzerland is practically immune to the phenomenon of youth unemployment (15-24 years). The rate is 7% in Switzerland; on the same level as Germany, with 8%, while it rises to 23% in France, 36% in Italy, and even to 45% in Spain.
In Ticino, in December, the figure was fixed at 3.9%, up 0.2 points compared to November and down 0.2 points year on year. In the canton of Grisons the rate remained unchanged at 1.9% compared with November and decreased by 0.1 points compared with December.
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