Unemployment in Latvia reached 6.2% last year

According to the State Employment Agency (NVA), 6.2% (57,808 persons) of economically active Latvian citizens were registered as unemployed at the end of 2019, which is 0.4% (53,783 persons) higher than the previous month, the LETA news agency reported January 10.

This number has remained largely unchanged since the end of 2018, when the Latvian unemployment rate was 0.2% (1,780 persons) higher. 

At 4.3%, the lowest registered unemployment rate was registered in the Rīga region, but the highest was registered in Latgale at 13.8%. The other regions also saw slight increases in unemployment with 5.9% registered in Vidzeme, 6.3% registered in Zemgale and 7.2% registered in Kurzeme.

According to NVA data 6.8% were registered unemployed in November 2018, compared to the 5.8% registered in November 2019.

As previously reported, the duration and amount of unemployment benefits were cut this year, said Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča (KPV LV) appearing on LTV September 16, 2019.

She said that the maximum duration for which people can receive unemployment benefits has been cut to eight months from the current nine. 

As for the amount, the benefits are to be paid in full for the first two months, 75% for the next two months, 50% for the next two and 45% for the final two.

Currently benefits are paid in full for the first three months, while the amount is cut to 75% for the next three and 50% for the final three months of the benefit duration.

"I wouldn't suggest this is a profound change, but it will motivate people to return to the job market more quickly," said Petraviča. She said that on average people receive unemployment benefits for 4.5 months.

This measure would save some €12 million from the state budget this year, the minister said. 

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