Unemployment rate in the Czech Republic fell to 4.2% in March - and retail sales dropped by 3% year-on-year in February, new statistics show.
According to the Labor Office, unemployment rate in the country declined to 4.2% in March from 4.3% in February. The number of job seekers dropped to 306,616 - while the number of vacancies rose to 338,862. Czechia has now the second lowest unemployment rate in the EU - after Poland.
The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová (ČSSD) said that the favourable numbers were result of the Antivirus program and an active employment policy of the government. In the first year since the launch of the program, 71,700 companies affected by the anti-epidemic restrictions have received wage contributions for their employees. The total volume was 36.9 billion crowns.
While the measures have affected tourism, gastronomy, services, trade and culture, there are also areas such as manufacturing, health and social care which are facing labor shortages. The lowest unemployment rate is in the Pardubice (3.0%) and Hradec Králové (3.2%) regions. In Prague, it is 3.7%. The worst situation is in the tourism-oriented Karlovy Vary (6.1%) region.
In February, retail sales excluding car sales fell by 3% year-on-year. The decline was apparent in all types of stores - on the other hand, e-shops recorded almost 42% higher sales compared to last February. Sales in clothing and footwear shops dropped by 69%, sports equipment retailers earned 36.5% less and sales of household products fell by 15.5%.