Unemployment drop to halve this year
Registered unemployment rate has stabilized since mid-October and at the end of 2011 was 11.5% of economically active population.
It is expected that during the remaining winter months the level of registered unemployment could rise slightly – 0.1–0.2 percentage points a month –, yet, as seasonal vacancies would appear in spring (particularly in construction, agriculture and restaurants), unemployment drop would resume. In 2012 overall, with a slower development of the economy, the drop in registered unemployment will also be about half of what it was in 2011 when it amounted to 2.8 percentage points. In the second half of the year, the level of registered unemployment may approach 10%, but the annual average is likely to exceed the Ministry of Welfare forecast (10.1%).
Given uncertain external environment business confidence regarding the further employment dynamics remains cautious. However, the rise in employment in 2011 almost matched the rate in 2007 despite unpronounced (around zero – like presently) business tendency. This points to the risk that the business tendency data assess the subjective mood of the entrepreneurs, reflecting the view of today and yesterday but may not help to make credible predictions about tomorrow.
At the end of 2011, 2.5 thousand vacancies were registered with the State Employment Agency (SEA). The whole number of vacancies in the economy is however much greater since only those vacancies that the entrepreneurs hope to fill with the unemployed (and these tend not to be top positions) are registered with SEA. According to the SEA vacancy data base, for instance, the demand is greatest for salespersons for retail shops as well as such manufacturing professions as fish processing workers, dressmakers and assistant workers. Meanwhile, for the profession of programmers, for which experts have been predicting a bright future and which is among the leaders in job vacancy websites, the number of the vacancies with SEA is rather small and almost all programmer vacancies remain unfilled for long periods of time.
The firm's survey data by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) likewise do not include all vacancies. At the end of the third quarter, for instance, only 1.3 thousand vacancies were listed for the private sector, thus not including even the majority of vacancies registered with the SEA. All of this should be borne in mind when one reads in the mediathat " X unemployed are competing for one vacancy". Determining vacancies in statistics is even more complicated than including all the unemployed: the number of the unemployed per vacancy tends to be much lower than possible to calculate from any official data.
 At the end of September there were 3.7 thousand vacancies with SEA. According to the methodology used by the CSB, a job is considered a vacancy for which a candidate has not been chosen, a contract has not been signed and the employer is taking active measures to find it a suitable candidate outside its staff as well as is prepared to fill it immediately or within the next three months.