Registered unemployment in January up due to seasonal factors
In January 2011 the registered unemployment rate is up by 0.2 percentage points, reaching 14.5% of the economically active population: the first such rise since last spring. The rise in unemployment at the beginning of the year was caused by seasonal factors and does not indicate a change in tendencies in the labour market: the unemployment rate will continue to go down gradually1. Such a prognosis does not rule out an increase in unemployment in certain months due to, e.g., seasonal factors, but the overall unemployment rate is likely to be smaller by the end of 2011, to about 12% of the economically active population.
According to the data of the regular survey by the European Commission, in January, for a second consecutive month, there were more entrepreneurs in manufacturing, trade and other services who are planning to increase the number of employees than those who plan to reduce it; such a situation was last observed in 2007 (although in 2007 the number of entrepreneurs planning employee increases was greater). Thus the uncertainty regarding the future direction of economic development prevalent in the second half of 2010 has been replaced by cautious optimism at the beginning of 2011. We must also note that in 2010 the rise in employment was primarily determined by developments in manufacturing and transport whereas in 2011, a rise in employment can be predicted also in trade and other service industries.
1 The unemployment rate went up in January in previous years as well. For instance, in January 2003 and 2004, it rose 0.2 percentage points (in January 2005 and 2006 by 0.1 percentage pointseven though in the medium term an unemployment contraction tendency was observed in this period. A resumed trend of growing unemployment would be indicated by a much greater rise, e.g., the kind experienced in January 2009 (1.3 percentage points over one month).