Registered unemployment rate falls to 6.3% in Latvia

The registered unemployment rate fell to 6.3% at end-April, down from 6.6% at end-march, according to figures of the state employment agency, published on Tuesday. In annual terms, the number of the unemployed declined by 6.0% y/y, while in monthly terms they declined by 5.0% m/m. Meanwhile, the number of job vacancies continued to increase, higher by 21.7% m/m and by as much as 94.2% y/y, signaling for strong labor demand and pressing shortages. As a result, the unemployed per vacancy ratio dropped down to 1.7, down to yet another record-low level. The number of the employed rose by 0.1% y/y, according to our calculations, which happened amid a 0.1% y/y expansion of the labor force, our estimations showed.

All in all, labor demand remain strong amid robust economic activity. We expect that the slightly growing employment should continue to support private consumption in the near term. To remind, the welfare ministry argued earlier in 2019 that the average unemployment level is expected at approximately 5.9% this year and reminded that a further decline in the jobless rate is expected in Q2 and Q3, due to a higher number of seasonal job opportunities. Overall, the country continues to experience labor shortages and the labor market poses a challenge to growth, according to the finance ministry, which argued wage growth could affect the country’s competitiveness negatively in the longer term.

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