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Unemployment Rate in the Czech Republic Up to 2.5% in May, Rising Faster Than EU Average

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic is at its highest since August 2018, but remains lower than the EU average of 6.7%. Both figures are still relatively low compared to the last decade and the previous recession. The total number of hours worked in the Czech Republic, however, also rose again in May. Photo: Freepik.

Czech Rep., Jul 5 (BD) – In the third month after the coronavirus pandemic first bit hard in the EU, Eurostat recorded an average unemployment rate of 6.7%, the same as one year earlier. In the Czech Republic, the unemployment rate rose to 2.5% in May, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CZSO). This is a year-on-year increase of 0.5 percentage points (pp), and the highest since August 2018.

The Czech Republic has, so far, seen a steeper increase in unemployment than the EU overall since the pandemic hit. The Czech unemployment rate stood at 2% in February, and has increased every month since, rising by 0.1pp in March, and 0.2pp in April and May. In the EU overall, the unemployment rate actually saw a small decline in March before rising, with a total increase of 0.2pp. 

At the same time, those employed in the Czech Republic are seeing their working hours increase. While April saw a significant 22% year-on-year drop in hours worked, CSZO reported that the total time worked has seen a smaller year-on-year drop of 8% in May, as lockdown measures were gradually relaxed.

The unemployment rate remains relatively low compared to the past decade. Between 2009 and 2019, the EU average unemployment rate never dropped below 8%, and for six years, from 2010-2016, it remained above 10%, with a peak of 12% in 2013.

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