The unemployment rate increased by 11% in March.

Austria’s unemployment figures rose by double digits in March, marking the first time this had happened in months. The total number of people registered with the Employment Service (AMS) was 369,640 at the end of the month, a 11% increase compared to the previous year. This figure was an astounding 36,000 higher than it had been before.

Of those registered, 291,468 were directly registered while 78,172 were taking part in AMS training programs. Johannes Kopf, head of AMS expressed his concern over this development. He said that despite favorable employment conditions around Easter being commonplace in Austria, the current state of affairs was particularly worrying.

The unemployment rate stood at 7.5% in March 2019 before the pandemic hit but has since risen to 6.2%, which is still higher than pre-pandemic levels. Labor Minister Martin Kocher acknowledged the challenging economic environment and urged caution about a rapid recovery reducing unemployment rates anytime soon due to high inflation and excess personnel capacity in companies.

The rise in unemployment was most significant among construction and industrial sectors with men and younger people being disproportionately affected. The Chamber of Labor highlighted long-term unemployment as a major concern for those with health issues or older individuals who are struggling financially due to job loss. However, there’s been an unexpected recent increase in employment among older employees aged 60 and over.

Critics from opposition parties accused the government of being too passive regarding rising unemployment figures while others raised concerns about a mismatch between increasing joblessness and demands for skilled workers – particularly in sectors like tourism where there’s high demand despite few available vacancies reported to AMS decreasing by 18% year-on-year. There’s hope that relief may come with more work permits to address labor market challenges as indicated by opportunities available for skilled workers specifically in electrical installation and cooking industries according to skilled labor barometer reportings

By Riley Johnson

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