Unemployment peaked, decrease expected
The percentage of job seekers in the first quarter of 2010 reached its historic high at 20.4% of the economically active population. According to the operational information of the Central Statistics Department, GDP grew 0.3% over the quarter by seasonally adjusted data, but that, in the conditions of a growing percentage of part-time workers, is not enough to create new jobs, for instead of hiring new employees, businesses may increase the working week for the existing ones. Moreover, the rise in unemployment in the first quarter was affected by the unfavourable seasonality factor.
Like in the previous quarters, differences in the percentage in job seekers differed in breakdown by gender, age and level of education. Among the population with university education, the percentage of job seekers is more than three times lower than among the population with basic or lower education (11.1% and 34.8% respectively). The highest percentage of job seekers remained among young people, and in the 15-24 age group it reaches 39.4%, with the percentage even higher, 43.9%, among young men. This is a reflection of a rise in structural unemployment particularly because of the steep drop in construction volumes. Young men can be considered the most mobile age group, therefore the increase of job seekers among them is considered the driving force behind increased emigration since the end of 2008.
As the economic development resumes in the next quarters, the percentage of job seekers is expected to drop, but not as rapidly as the registered unemployment rate (to wit: in April alone the registered unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percentage points, to 16.7%). First, 0.3 percentage points of the reduced rate of registered unemployment was determined by a recalculation of the number of economically active population. Second, the number of registered unemployed persons is dropping in part because jobseeksers lack the motivation to regularly visit the State Unemployment Agency after the term of the unemployment benefits has run out.