The unemployment rate in Austria has soared in the last two weeks due to the expansion of the Covid-19 until the end of March in 12.2%, 4.7 points more than that registered a year ago. In absolute numbers it is a level not seen since the year after the end of World War II.
As reported this Wednesday by the Labor Market Service (AMS), as of yesterday (March 31) there was 562,522 unemployed citizens, 52.5% more than at the end of the same month last year. In absolute numbers, that number It is the highest since 1946. Since then, the number of inhabitants of the Central European country has increased by about 2 million, to 8.8 million.
The sharp rise in unemployment has taken place after the Government, made up of conservatives and environmentalists, imposed general confinement on March 16 to curb the pandemic, so that citizens can only go out on the public highway to go to work, buy food, go to the doctor or take a short walk. After the cancellation of massive events, all educational centers, restaurants, hotels and other entertainment venues were closed, as well as shops except for basic items.
ANDl biggest increase in unemployed, 145%, has been registered in the hotel and gastronomy sector, followed by construction (95%), and transport and storage (84%). At the same time, the number of job vacancies fell “immediately” by 20.5%s, the AMS reported in a statement published on its website.
Its director, Johannes Kopf, has highlighted in a note that «this extreme increase in unemployment not only is it a huge challenge for the many people affected, it also puts AM in an unprecedented test »”, which since the beginning of 2017 did not record an increase in unemployment.
Extensive stimulus package
The serious situation occurs despite the broad conjunctural package, for a total value of 38,000 million euros (between direct aid, tax holidays and credit guarantees) adopted by the Executive on March 18 precisely to limit unemployment.
“Our motto is secure jobs whatever the cost, ”federal chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at the time, although he admitted that the business base of many companies“ has vanished. ”
The percentages quoted above are calculated according to the national definition of the unemployment rate, which usually yields a result superior to the international method applied by Eurostat, saccording to which the Austrian index was 4.4% in February (compared to 4.7% of the national version).