The Slovenia Times

Labour Market Recovers in 2014, Next Year Uncertain


A total of 129,843 persons were registered as unemployed with the Employment Service in January, with the unemployment rate reaching 14.2%.

The rate was dangerously close to the record numbers from 1993, when the monthly average stood at 137,142 unemployed people, and the unemployment rate standing at 14.4%.

The jobless total was dropping each month until October, when it increased due to a large number of young people reporting at the Employment Service following graduation.

The number of unemployed people decreased again in November to 115,411. While there is no official data yet on the unemployment rate for the past month, it is expected to be lower than in October (12.6%).

A similar trend has been observed in the number of unemployed people aged 29 or younger, which dropped from 33,920 in January to 30,080 in November.

A total of EUR 211.23m was spent on unemployment benefits between January and November, which is EUR 78m less than in the entire 2013 and EUR 101.04m less than in 2011, when this amount peaked at EUR 312.27m.

The Ministry of Labour attributes the trend to the improving economic situation and the active employment policy and other measures on the labour market.

A total of 69,916 people were crossed out from the Employment Service records between January and November because they found employment. This is 12% more year-on-year and 21% more than in the same period in 2012.

A total of 35,134 persons, including 32,034 unemployed persons, have been involved in the active employment policy measures this year, worth a total of EUR 101.47m.

According to the ministry, the most successful programmes are on-the-job training programme, which resulted in 6,075 employments by the end of September, and the public works programme, which included a total of 5,000 long-term unemployed persons.

Also bearing fruit this year were special guarantees for young employees, worth EUR 31.5m in the first nine months, as well as subsidies, social contribution exemptions and mentorship programmes, the ministry said.

An analysis of last year's labour market reform shows that the market segmentation has decreased as the number of open-ended contracts is increasing, especially among the young. The upcoming changes to student work regulation are expected to decrease the age segmentation.

Reducing unemployment remains one of the priorities of Labour Minister Anja Kopa─Ź Mrak, who is warning that cuts in funding of the active unemployment policy could undermine the ongoing favourable trend.

While the funding is to be halved next year to EUR 47.2m due to the transition to the new EU financial perspective, the minister hopes that additional EU funds will become available in September 2015.

The long-term unemployed, those who have been out of work form more than a year, remain the biggest problem. Their number has been increasing for years, reaching 59,558 or more than 50% of all unemployed in November, according to the Employment Service.

The Labour Ministry is aware of the problem and will make the long-term unemployed "a target group in 2015 of a majority of active employment policy programmes", both in terms of education and training and other employment-promotion programmes.


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