The unemployment rate increased by 11% in March.

Austria Faces Unprecedented Unemployment Spike in March, Concerns Raised over Recovery Efforts

In March, Austria experienced a significant increase in unemployment for the first time in months. A total of 369,640 people were registered with the Employment Service (AMS) at the end of the month, which was 11 percent higher than the previous year and almost 36,000 more people. Of these, 291,468 were directly registered while 78,172 were participating in AMS training programs.

The rise in unemployment was most pronounced in the construction and industry sectors, with men and younger people being disproportionately affected. Despite this, older employees aged 60 and over saw a recent increase in employment. Labour Minister Martin Kocher acknowledged the challenging economic environment with the current unemployment rate standing at 6.2 percent – still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

AMS boss Johannes Kopf expressed concern over the development, noting that it was particularly bad given the favorable employment conditions usually seen around Easter. He attributed this to Austria’s clear recession and predicted that a rapid recovery in reducing unemployment was unlikely due to high inflation and excess personnel capacity in companies. The Chamber of Labor highlighted the rise in long-term unemployment among those with health issues and older individuals, expressing concern about their financial difficulties faced by households affected by unemployment.

Amidst criticism from opposition parties, some accused the government of being inactive regarding rising unemployment figures. The ÖGB managing director also raised concerns about the mismatch between rising unemployment and demand for skilled workers – particularly in sectors like tourism where there is high demand but low availability of skilled workers.

Despite these challenges, there are still opportunities available for skilled workers as reported by the skilled labor barometer indicating industries like electrical installation and cooking as areas with high demand for such workers

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