Warsaw, Poland – Yesterday, the EU’s statistical office released its unemployment figures for January 2020, with a more than promising outlook for Central Europe. According to Eurostat, the Czech Republic (2%, +0.1 percentage point compared to January 2019) and Poland (2.9%, -0.9 pp year-on-year) had the two lowest unemployment rates in the EU, ahead of the Netherlands (3%) and Germany (3.2%).
The EU’s long-time employment champion, the Czech Republic’s jobless rate reached “close to its lowest point” last year, according to analysts, and should only remain stable or increase over the next few years.
Although the Czech and Polish unemployment figures might be to some extent a rightful cause for celebration, both countries have long been struggling with growing labour shortages hurting domestic companies and businesses’ ability to remain competitive.
With a joblessness rate of 3.4% (-0.2 pp compared to twelve months ago), neighbouring Hungary also ranks in the top 5 EU countries with the lowest shares of unemployed people compared to the total available workforce.
Slovakia (5.7%, or -0.2 pp y/y) didn’t perform as well as its Visegrad allies, but remains 1 to 2 percentage points below the EU (6.6%) and Eurozone (7.4%) average.
In total, Eurostat estimates that there were more than 920,000 unemployed people in total in Visegrad countries in January.
Over the past year, the EU’s labour market has largely improved, with 19 member states reporting a drop in unemployment which has reached, EU-wide, its lowest level since 2000, according to Eurostat.
Southern European countries however keep struggling with the highest joblessness rates in the bloc, with Greece (16.5%), Spain (13.7%), Italy (9.8%) and France (8.2%) topping the ranking.