The unemployment rate in Switzerland rose to 3.3% in April 2020, up from 2.9% the month before, a rise of nearly 14%.
By 30 April 2020, there were 153,413 people registered as unemployed at Switzerland’s regional placement offices.
Young workers were the hardest hit. Unemployment among those aged 15 to 24 rose by 18.1% compared to March 2020 and by 61.3% compared to April 2019. By the end of April 2020 there were 17,191 people in this age group out of work. 3.3% of workers in this age group.
Older workers were less hard hit by the Covid-19 induced slowdown. Among those aged 50 to 64, unemployment rose 9.5% compared to March 2020 and by 31.7% compared to April 2019. By the end of April 2020 there were 40,236 people in this age group out of work. 3.0% of workers in this age bracket.
The worst hit sector was hotels and restaurants. Unemployment rose to 9.9%, up 31% compared to March 2020 and up 91% compared to April 2019. Construction was also hit hard. Unemployment in construction rose to 6.6%, up 5% on the previous month and 62% on April 2019. These two industries together accounted for 35,876 of April’s unemployed, around 23% of the total.
These unemployment rates calculated by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) do not include all people seeking work. They only include those registered with Switzerland’s regional placement offices, a requirement for receiving unemployment payments, which last two years. After this many job seekers don’t bother to register and drift out of the official unemployment data.
An alternative measure, used by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which includes all available job seekers – ILO definition of unemployment – is higher. In 2019, the SECO rate was 2.5% while the ILO rate was 4.5%.
By 30 April 2020 there were 231,196 job seekers in Switzerland, 17,299 more than the month before and 47,647 than at the same time last year. This figure yields an unemployment rate of 5.0%, a calculation closer to the ILO rate.