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Latvia still burdened by high unemployment

By Anatol Steven. 14.12.2010

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The national average is unchanged at 14.3%, but it’s a country of extremes, from 10% in Riga to 23% in Rezekne.

The economy is improving and ratings agencies and external organizations are positive about Latvia’s economic future. But unemployment is still a serious problem that is showing no signs of ebbing away.
The director of the State Employment Agency, Baiba Paševica, revealed this week that the unemployment rate remained unchanged throughout October, at 14.3 percent of the economically active population.
There was in fact a slight increase towards the end of the period, of 722, raising the grand total to 162,538 working-age individuals now registered with the government agency as jobless.
Paševica attributed this marginal increase to the onset of autumn and winter and the end of seasonal employment in Latvia. The unemployment level grew at the fastest rate in the central Latvian region of Zemgale.
The capital Riga continues to show the lowest unemployment rate in the country, with 10 percent of the city’s population being out of work. In contrast, the depressed eastern town of Rezekne, which has been burdened with a high jobless rate for many years, has the country’s highest unemployment at 22.9 percent.
Among the regions of Latvia, the lowest rate of unemployment was reported to be in the Riga region where 11% of the working-age population are without work. The western region of Kurzeme follows with 15.6 percent; then central Zemgale comes next with 15.7 percent; the north-eastern region of Vidzeme with 16.1 percent; and Latgale in the east with 22.2 percent.

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