Unemployment rate in Latvia tops 10 percent

The overall unemployment rate in Latvia reached 10.7 percent in March, rising 1.2 percentage points from February, the State Employment Agency (Nodarbinātības valsts aģentūrā) announced April 7.

February’s unemployment rate was 9.5 percent.

The number of unemployed workers in Latvia reached 103,731 in March, the agency reported. White collar workers were among those increasingly joining the ranks of the unemployed.

“In March the largest number of unemployed had professional (38.4 percent) and general secondary education (28.5 percent),” said Baiba Paševica, director of the State Employment Agency. “Among the jobless with higher education the greatest number are engineers, economists, teachers, lawyers and technologists.”

The Rēzekne region, often one of the hardest hit in terms of joblessness, recorded the highest unemployment rate in Latvia, 23.1 percent. Other areas with high unemployment, according to the agency, were Ludza region, 19 percent; Rēzekne city, 17.8 percent; Balvi region, 17 percent; Dobele region, 16.7 percent; Preiļi region, 16.5 percent; Krāslava region, 15.3 percent; Kuldīga region, 14.2 percent; Aizkraukle region, 13.7 percent; Jēkabpils region, 13.5 percent; Liepāja city, 13 percent; and Liepāja region, 12.9 percent.

The lowest unemployment figures in March were recorded in the Tukums region, 7.1 percent; Rīga city, 8.2 percent; Jūrmala city, 8.4 percent; Daugavpils city, 9.2 percent; Jelgava city, 9.6 percent; Ventspils region, 9.7 percent, Talsi region, 10.1 percent; Valmiera region, 10.1 percent; Ventspils city, 10.2 percent; Jelgava region, 10.3; and Limbaži region, 10.5 percent.

Of those who were without work in March, 26.5 percent were between 45 and 54 years old, 22.7 percent were 25-34 and 22.2 percent were 35-44.

In April and May 2008, the unemployment rate in Latvia bottomed out at 4.8 percent.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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