Switzerland’s low unemployment rate is the envy of many EU countries. However, in the third quarter of 2019, Switzerland underperformed the EU.
Recent statistics show Switzerland’s overall rate of unemployment in the third quarter rose from 4.2% (Q3 2018) to 4.6% (Q3 2019) or 225,000 unemployed workers – these figures are based on the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment. The lower measure typically used in Switzerland includes only those still registered with the unemployment office.
The same unemployment figures for the EU (EU-28) were 6.5% (Q3 2018) and 6.2% (Q3 2019).
In contrast to Switzerland’s worsening unemployment figures was a rise in the percentage of its population working (+0.3%).
More detailed employment figures suggest where the rise in unemployment might be coming from. The employment rate among Swiss workers remained stable. Among those on G permits (+3.3%), C permits (+0.3%) and B and L permits that had held them for 12 months or more (+0.3%) it rose. By contrast, the employment rate dropped for those who had held L permits for less than 12 months (-6.4%).
At the end of Q3 2019 3.4% of Swiss workers, 5.4% of workers from the EU28/EFTA and 13.8% of foreign workers from outside the EU28/EFTA were unemployed.
Switzerland’s youth unemployment (15-24) continued to remain relatively high rising from 9.2% (Q3 2018) to 10.9% (Q3 2019). The same figures for the EU were 15.2% (Q3 2018) and 14.4% (Q3 2019).
Unemployment fell for workers aged 50 to 64 from 3.8% (Q3 2018) to 3.2% (Q3 2019).