Unemployment was above 10% in 2014

One in ten of Latvia's workforce remained unemployed during 2014, according to figures released Thursday by the Central Statistics Bureau (CSB)/

For 2014 as a whole, Latvia's unemployment rate was 10.8%, which is 1.1 percentage point below the rate for 2013 but still above the psychologically important 10% threshold.

107,600 persons aged 15 to 74 years were unemployed, which is 12,800 fewer than in 2013. 

Women were slightly more successful at holding down a job than men. The unemployment rate for women was 9.8%, and unemployment rate for men - 11.8%.

"Over the last three quarters the unemployment rate has not changed significantly in Latvia, and since the 2nd quarter of 2013 it only slightly differs from the average EU-28 indicator," the CSB said.

"The unemployment rate in Latvia in the 4th quarter of 2014 was 10.2%, and this indicator is slightly higher than in Lithuania (10.1%), but it significantly lags behind the situation in Estonia (6.3%)."

Commenting on the figures, Swedbank Latvia economist Lija Strasuna said: "A fall in employment may deter household spending and economic growth. The main driver of economic growth this year (similarly to 2014) is expected to be productivity growth. This will support also wage growth.

"We do not expect employment to recover in the nearest time, especially given demographic situation and cautiousness of businesses due to geopolitical uncertainty. However, with the current (or marginally higher) level of West sanctions vis-à-vis Russia we do not expect massive layoffs in Latvia either. We forecast the unemployment rate to fall a tad below 10% by the end of this year. Risks remain skewed to the downside though."

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