Unemployment to abate only in the second half of the year
There tends to be a time lag between changes in the economy and labour market indicators - remuneration and employment - that follow. Unemployment will thus begin to abate a few months after the resumption of economic activity, i.e. in the second half of the year. In the first half, however, unemployment will grow at a slower rate than at the end of 2009. Already last December unemployment rose a little less steeply, with unemployment rate dropping by 0.9 percentage points and registered unemployment reaching 16.0% at the end of 2009.
In December job seekers found greater motivation to register with the State Employment Agency (NVA) as the large size unemployment benefits were about to be limited as of 1 January 2010. As of that date, the unemployed who register with NVA from 2010 to 2012 and whose unemployment benefits exceed LVL 350 a month are to receive only half of the sum that is in excess of that figure. As a result of this innovation, many job seekers who lost their jobs in the latter part of 2009, did not postpone registration with NVA as tended to be the case before.
The active employment measures undertaken by NVA and substantially intensified in the latter months of 2009 are to be commended. Of the 179 thousand registered unemployed 22 thousand worked temporary jobs, among them 17 thousand in local governments. The total number of the unemployed who took part in this program was 47 thousand, i.e. 2.3 times more than six months ago. In recent months there was a shift from career consultations to professional education, retraining, and competitiveness increasing measures. The work practice opportunities with local governments that were started in September 2009 and serve as source of income for those unemployed people for whom the period for receiving unemployment benefits has run out are particularly significant.