Unemployment down substantially, lack of qualified labour on the rise
For the first time in the last six months a rapid drop in registered unemployment was observed in April 2011: it dropped 0.5 percentage points, reaching 13.9% of the economically active population by the end of the month. Although in April of last year, the drop in the unemployment rate was even steeper (0.6 percentage points), half of the drop then was determined by the update of the number of economically active population. This year, the update did not have a substantial effect on the overall unemployment rate. Thus the drop in the number of unemployed that usually takes place in spring as seasonal work resumes this year is more rapid than last year.
The rise in the number of vacancies registered in the State Employment Agency (NVA) likewise indicates increased opportunities to find work: it reached 3.3 thousand, which is 1.5 times higher than a year ago. The number of unemployed who had found permanent job was 6.7 thousand in April, i.e. every twenty fourth unemployed person found permanent job – an indicator similar to last year's. Albeit a demand for labour is on the rise along with the economic recovery, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable employees. Although the demand for qualified employees keeps rising, there are ever fewer such unemployed on the NVA registers while the percentage of unemployed who only have basic or general secondary education, and with poor language proficiency in Latvian is growing.