Unemployment in the Czech Republic hits 4 percent, highest since 2017

Despite the increase, the Czech Republic still has the lowest unemployment in Europe.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 11.01.2021 08:16 (updated on 11.01.2021)

Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose at the end of 2020 according to data from the Czech Labor Office. Some 4.0 percent of people were out of work in December, while 3.8 percent were jobless in November. The Czech Republic last had a higher unemployment rate in summer of 2017. A year ago in December 2019, 2.9 percent were out of work.

On the last day of 2019, there were 291,977 job seekers registered at Labor Offices, almost 76,500 more year-on-year. Compared to November, the number of unemployed increased by almost 17,500. From the registered job seekers, 273,758 were between the ages of 15 and 64.

In December, the number of job vacancies increased slightly month-on-month, by 610 to 318,582. In a year-on-year comparison, however, this is a decrease of almost 22,400 vacancies. On average, there are 0.9 applicants per vacancy.

During December, 40,143 people were newly registered. Compared to the previous month, it was 4,783 persons more and, compared to the same period of the previous year, 3,272 persons fewer.

A total of 22,692 applicants left the register in December. It was 9,827 persons fewer than in the previous month and 2,480 persons fewer than in December 2019.

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Of these, 14,804 persons started working in December, which was 7,567 fewer than in the previous month and 1,046 more in December 2019,. Some 4,599 job seekers were placed through the Czech Labor Office, which was 2,631 fewer than in the previous month and 1,209 fewer than in December 2019.

Some 2,589 job seekers were excluded from the register due to non-compliance with the Labor Office of the Czech Republic and 5,299 applicants left the register at their own request.

All districts of the Czech Republic recorded a month-on-month increase in unemployment in December. Unemployment rose the most, by 24.6 percent, in the Jindřichův Hradec region, followed by the Prachatice region, with 23.7 percent.

The share of unemployed persons equal to or higher than the national average is reported by 29 regions. The highest unemployment, at 8.1 percent, was in December in the Karviná district This was followed by Bruntál with 6.8 percent, the City of Ostrava at 6.7 percent, Most at 6.6 percent, and Znojmo and Jeseník, both at 6.4 percent.

The lowest unemployment rate was recorded in the Rychnov region with 1.9 percent, followed by Prague-East at 2 percent, Pelhřimov at 2.1 percent, Mladá Boleslav at 2.2 percent, Jičín at 2.3 percent), and Benešov and Písek, both at 2.5 percent. Prague was in the middle of the list at 3.5 percent. Nationwide, the share of unemployed men rose to 3.9 percent and women to 4.1 percent.

Last year, the development of unemployment was significantly affected by the pandemic of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first cases of which occurred in the Czech Republic on March 1. At the beginning of last year, the Czech labor market was facing a significant shortage of employees.

“With the advent of coronavirus, the situation began to change. Especially in the areas that were the first to be affected by the ordered closure. We are talking about services, hospitality, spas, sales, sports clubs, culture and gradually even the automotive industry,” Viktor Najmon, general director of the Czech Labor Office, said.

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He added that despite the deteriorating situation, the country still has the lowest unemployment in the entire European Union.

According to the latest available data from EU statistical office Eurostat, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in the Czech Republic in October 2020 and 7.6 percent i in the EU27. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.9 percent i in the Czech Republic and 7.6 percent in the EU27.

In the first three months of last year, unemployment in the Czech Republic was still around 3 percent. It rose to 3.4 percent in April and stood at 3.8 percent from July to September. It fell by 0.1 percentage point in October, but returned to 3.8 percent in November.

The Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), which uses a different methodology, said the unemployment rate of people aged 15–64 years in November 2020 was 2.9 percent, up 0.8 percentage points compared to the previous year. The male unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, attained 2.4 percent and for women it was 3.6 percent. The ČSÚ has not released statistics for December yet.