The rise in unemployment registered in the second half of March has stopped
In keeping with predictions, the rise in unemployment is becoming ever slower: in March it was 0.2 percentage points, by the end of the month reaching 17.3% of the economically active population. A slower rise in unemployment is largely related to the fact that those who have lost their unemployed status is on the increase whereas the number of people who were accorded such status decreased only a little.
A further analysis however indicates that ever more people have lost their unemployed status because they have found permanent employment and not because they have neglected their duties under that status. In March, 5.6 thousand registered unemployed found permanent work (this does not include those employed under the "100 lats programme" or others in temporary jobs whose numbers reached a record 23.4 thousand registered unemployed persons).
The dynamics of vacancies is another indicator that suggests that job opportunities have increased (albeit still insufficient): at the end of March the State Employment Agency (NVA) listed 1.7 thousand vacancies. Even though this is a very small number compared to the unemployment level, it is an upward trend compared to the end of 2009 (1.4 thousand). It must be noted that the rise in the number of registered unemployed observed in the second half of March has stopped and, according to operating information, a small drop in the number of unemployed was observed in the first days of April. In all likelihood, however, this fact is related to the drop in the number of visitors to the NVA in the days before and after Easter.
As we had predicted (See commentary), Eurostat has corrected the assessment of factual unemployment in the fourth quarter of 2009, bringing it down 1.9 percentage points, to 19.7% (including 2.3 percentage points for December 2009), and the current Eurostat evaluation of end-2009 is an adequate reflection of reality.
It is expected, however, that in April the level of registered unemployment will rise - it will mostly be affected by the recalculation of the economically active population. (Such a recalculation takes place every year, currently, from the data for 2008 to those for 2009. Since in 2009, the number of economically active population decreased, it will have an increasing effect on the calculation of the unemployment level, yet this effect will not be large - only up to 0.2 percentage points).