Fico: Could Be Lack of Qualified People if Unemployment Goes under 10%

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Prime Minister Robert Fico (TASR archive)

Bratislava, February 21 (TASR) – The Government has been successful in meeting its target of reducing unemployment in Slovakia in line with the eurozone average, announced Prime Minister Robert Fico at a press conference at the Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Ministry on Sunday.

“We’re still matching the eurozone average without any difficulties,” said Fico, adding that the decrease in unemployment in Slovakia in 2015 was the second fastest in the European Union.

According to Fico, however, companies may have problems in finding enough qualified people as unemployment drops. “If we go under 10-percent unemployment, we would get into a situation in which there wouldn’t be enough of a qualified workforce on the labour market, so we’d have to launch even more requalification programmes,” said Fico.

The premier added that the avoidance of property seizures by bailiffs is also an issue. “There is an estimate that up to 40,000 people are deliberately registered as unemployed in order not to be liable to seizures,” he said.

Fico reiterated that over the past four years 130,000 new job vacancies have been created. “I believe that in the next period, as long as Smer-SD is able to form part of the government, we’ll have a chance to create a further 100,000 new vacancies, as in the current year alone there is an outline that based on investment and support programmes at least 30,000 new job vacancies will be created,” he said.

The prime minister also stressed that during Iveta Radicova’s government between June 2010-April 2012 a total of 30,955 extra unemployed people signed on at labour offices. “If we take the same criterion, then from April 2012 when we took over government until January 2016 this number went down by 80,000,” he stated.

Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter said that the number of unemployed under 29 years of age has gone down by 43,946 in four years, while the number of graduates registered at labour offices has dropped by 7,054 in the same period. “In terms of the long-term unemployed we’ve registered a decrease of 18,772 persons,” said Richter, adding that there was no significant decrease in unemployment among people over 50 years of age, however.

Richter also said that it’s in the Government’s interests to assess every project focused on employment support. “The rate of effectiveness concerning almost 13,000 young people is 86 percent. So many young people remain working after the project ends,” he said.