The second wave of unemployment increase peters out
The registered unemployment increase rate is abating: in January and February the increase was 0.6 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively, i.e. much slower than in September-December 2009 (0.9-1.0 percentage points). Thus the second wave of unemployment increase, which gathered force in autumn 2009, is gradually petering out.
The number of those who have acquired the status of unemployed - an indicator that reacts to changes in economic activity faster than the unemployment level, - in February dropped to a six month minimum (16.8 thousand people), even though the beginning of the year is characterized by an adverse seasonal influence. At the end of February the registered unemployment reached 17.1% of the economically active population. Of the unemployed, 38.5 thousand people or 20% were involved in the activities organized under the auspices of the Employment Agency’s active employment policy, half of these in temporary jobs.
According to the data of the February survey by the European Commission, the prognoses of both employers and employees are gradually improving regarding future employment dynamics. In keeping with previous months, the processing industry enterprises show the most sense of security in their assessment.
It is expected that in the next months the unemployment increase will become ever slower and by the middle of the year the registered unemployment may peak at 18-19%..It is possible that in a summer month the unemployment rate may even lower because of seasonal factors, but a more lasting drop in unemployment is forecast toward the end of the year. It should be noted however that the drop in unemployment will be rather protracted because a return to economic growth sustainable in the long term (around 5% a year), which is a precondition for a more pronounced rise in employment, can be expected only in 2012. Thus the average registered unemployment in 2011 is expected to be lower than the 17-18% expected this year but higher than the average for 2009, at 12.1%.