In December last year, the Observatoire statistique transfrontalier published unemployment figures for the French region surrounding Geneva.
French unemployment calculations broadly follow the method used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which includes all available job seekers – ILO definition of unemployment and French definition of unemployment.
Official Swiss figures however include only those registered as unemployed, a lower percentage that excludes those who are available and seeking work but no longer registered. Much of the motivation to register with the unemployment office in Switzerland disappears once an individual has reached the end of their unemployment insurance.
In 2018, Geneva’s official unemployment rate was 4.1%. However, its rate based on the ILO definition was 11.8%. Broadly comparable rates in the two French departments bordering Geneva were 6.4% in Ain and 6.5% in Haute-Savoie, more than 5 percentage points lower than in Geneva.
According to Tribune de Genève, between 2013 and 2018, Geneva’s ILO-calculated unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points from 10.1% to 11.8%. At the same time in neighbouring France the closely comparable rate fell from 7.4% to 7.0%, a figure below the 8.4% average ILO rate across metropolitan France in the fourth quarter of 2018.