Unemployment down on year, up on quarter

In the first quarter of 2017 the Latvian unemployment rate constituted 9.4 %, according to a Labour Force Survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB). 

Compared to the previous quarter, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points, whereas, compared to the same period of the year before, the rate reduced by 0.9 percentage points.

In the 1st quarter of 2017, 91,300 people aged 15–74 were unemployed, which is 10,300 fewer than a year ago but 500 more than in the previous quarter.

Over the five most recent years, the Latvian unemployment rate has been consistently exceeding the European Union (EU) average indicator (except for the 1st quarter of 2015 when both rates were equal).

In the fourth quarter of 2016 the, Latvian unemployment rate (9.3 %) was 1.1 percentage points above the EU average (8.2 %). In the 1st quarter of 2017, Latvian unemployment rate still was the highest among the Baltic states (5.6 % in Estonia and 8.1 % in Lithuania).

As previously reported by LSM, the figures produced by the Employment Agency, and the Central Statistics Bureau for the European Commission are usually slightly different to each other as they are based upon slightly differing criteria. The Labor Force Survey, as the name suggests, is based on a survey of just over 4,000 households rather than aggregated figures.

In the 1st quarter of 2017, the share of long-term unemployed persons, i.e., those who have been without work for 12 months or longer, in the total number of unemployed persons declined. The drop constitutes 7.1 percentage points – from 45.5 % in the 1st quarter of 2016 to 38.4 % in the 1st quarter of 2017. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed persons declined by 11.2 thousand, and in the first quarter of 2017 it accounted for 35.0 thousand.

However in the 1st quarter of 2017, the youth unemployment rate constituted 17.3 %, which is 2.3 percentage points higher than a year ago and 1.5 percentage points higher than in the 4th quarter of 2016. Over the year, the number of young unemployed persons did not change, while, compared to the 4th quarter of 2016, the number went up by 0.9 thousand.


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