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Unemployment rate continues to rise

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12:18 CEST+02:00
Latest Austrian unemployment figures for last month show that the number of jobless is continuing to rise.

At the end of May there were more than 395,000 registered unemployed - an increase of 6.9 percent compared to the same time last year, the AMS job service said on Monday.

The national unemployment rate is currently 8.6 percent. The highest unemployment continues to be among people over the age of 50 (an increase of 16.8 percent) and foreigners (plus 24.2 percent).

Unemployment is higher in the east of the country than in the west, with Vienna seeing the highest increase of 23.9 percent. The AMS said this growth was due in part to the reduced number of government sponsored training places available for unemployed people.

Compared to the rest of the European Union Austria still has relatively high employment and is in third place, behind Germany and the UK, according to figures from Eurostat.  

However, Social Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer said that economic growth is currently too slow to reduce rising unemployment figures.

Austria has a growing labour force, due mostly to immigration, and subdued domestic demand, which Hundstorfer said is contributing to the problem of unemployment.

He expects the situation to improve next year when the planned tax reform comes into effect, broadband networks are developed and new housing initiatives begin.

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