The unemployment rate increased by 11% in March.

Austria’s Unemployment Rate Rises Double Digits, Highlighting Concerns Amidst Economic Recession and Labor Market Challenges

Austria’s unemployment rate rose by double digits for the first time in months, according to data from the Employment Service (AMS) at the end of March 2023. This was a 11% increase compared to the previous year and resulted in a total of 369,640 people being registered with AMS. Almost 36,000 more people were added to the unemployment rolls compared to the same month last year.

Of these, 291,468 were directly registered, while 78,172 were participating in AMS training programs. The increase in unemployment was most significant in the construction and industry sectors, with men and younger people being disproportionately affected.

Labour Minister Martin Kocher acknowledged the challenging economic environment, with the unemployment rate standing at 7.5% in March 2019 before the pandemic hit. The current rate of 6.2% is still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Chamber of Labor highlighted the rise in long-term unemployment, particularly affecting those with health issues and older individuals. They expressed concern about the financial difficulties faced by households affected by unemployment. Despite this, older employees aged 60 and over saw a recent increase in employment.

Amidst criticisms from opposition parties, the government was called out for inaction in addressing the rising unemployment figures. The ÖGB managing director also raised concerns about the mismatch between rising unemployment and the demand for skilled workers, particularly in sectors like tourism.

While there has been an increase in long-term unemployment among some groups, there are still opportunities for relief and an increase in work permits to address labor market challenges that may arise as businesses recover from this recessionary period.

The number of available vacancies reported to AMS decreased by 18% year-on-year; however, there is still high demand for skilled workers across various industries such as electrical installation and cooking.

AMS boss Johannes Kopf expressed concern over this development, noting that it was particularly bad given that favorable employment conditions were usually seen around Easter.

He indicated that Austria was still in a clear recession and that a rapid recovery reducing unemployment was unlikely due to high inflation and excess personnel capacity within companies.

Overall, it is evident that despite efforts by various stakeholders to address this issue

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