The unemployment rate was 9.6 percent as of Feb. 28, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MPSV). That is a slight — and surprising — drop from 9.7 percent at the end of January and from 9.9 percent a year ago. The ministry uses different methodology than the EU statistical arm, Eurostat, which put Czech unemployment in January 2011 at 7.9 percent.
“The February decline is unusual in comparison with two previous years. … [This] could be affected by fading effects of the change in conditions for payment of social benefits valid from the beginning of this year or the tightening of the disbursement of those payments. That made an incentive for the unemployed to sign up for benefits before the end of 2010 and use the more favorable rules,” Komerční banka analyst Miroslav Frayer said Tuesday in a comment.
Job offices in the Czech Republic registered altogether 566,896 job seekers as of Feb. 28, 2011. That is 4,967 fewer than at the end of January. The number of job seekers decreased by 16,239 year-on-year, the ministry said in press release. In the course of February, job offices registered altogether 47,156 newcomers. ‘In the following months, the situation should improve due to seasonal factors, and the unemployment rate should decrease below 9 percent.’
At the end of February, job offices registered 263,172 female job seekers (46.4 percent of the total unemployed), and 70,331 persons with reduced working capacity (12.4 percent). The unemployment rate for women was 10.3 percent and the unemployment rate for men was 9.0 percent, according to the ministry.
“The increase of the seasonal unemployment rate is probably behind us,” KB’s Frayer said, adding that the MPSV figures are consistent with the stabilization of the unemployment rate. “In the following months, the situation should improve due to seasonal factors, and the unemployment rate should decrease below 9 percent. At the end of this year, we expect the unemployment rate at 9.3 percent,” Frayer concluded.
As of Feb. 28, 2011, job offices registered altogether 32,164 vacancies, or 771 vacancies more than in the preceding month and by 44 vacancies more year on year. Currently, there are 17.6 job seekers per vacancy at average.
A higher-than-average unemployment rate was shown in 49 districts, according to the MPSV, the highest being in Jeseník (20.4 percent), Bruntál (18.0 percent) and Most (16.7 percent). The lowest unemployment rate was in districts of Prague and Prague-East (4.1 percent), Prague-West (4.2 percent) and Mladá Boleslav (5.0 percent).
A monthly decrease of unemployed was registered by 68 job offices in the Czech Republic. The greatest decreases were in Mladá Boleslav and Rokycany (both 3.7 percent), Plzeň-North (3.4 percent), and Plzeň (3.1 percent). A monthly increase of unemployed was registered at seven job offices in the Czech Republic. The greatest increases were in Ústí nad Labem (2.9 percent), České Budějovice (1.5 percent) and Benešov (1.4 percent).
Job offices in February paid off unemployment benefits to 182,670 job seekers, that is 32.2 percent of all job seekers under registration. In January 2011 it was 33.6 percent, and in February 2010 it was 36.6 percent.