Unemployment still rising
At 4.9%, Austria has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, however, it has been rising for the past 27 months. In November, AMS chief Johannes Kopf said he expects an increase from the current 361,000 jobless Austrians to 450,000 by the end of January.
While the economy grew by 0.5% in 2013, and is projected to grow 1.6% in 2014, Kopf says that’s not enough. He predicts that unemployment will not begin to decrease until 2015. Groups with the highest unemployment are the elderly, migrants, and low-skilled workers. Almost half of the jobless (47%) have only completed compulsory education.
In order to prevent long-term unemployment, the head of the AMS advocates the Austrian approach: Keeping the market flexible and continuing support through welfare spending. In 2014, Austria will spend a projected €1.12 billion on job market stimulation, the fourth highest value in the EU.