In March, Austria experienced a sharp rise in unemployment, with the number of unemployed individuals increasing by double digits. This was the first time this had happened in several months. At the end of the month, there were a total of 369,640 people on record with the Employment Service (ZZS), which is 11 percent higher than the previous year and represents an increase of almost 36,000 people. Of these, 291,468 were directly registered, while 78,172 participated in AMS training programs.

AMS Chief Johannes Kopf expressed concern over the development and noted that the situation was particularly challenging given that Austria typically sees favorable employment conditions around Easter. He highlighted that Austria is still in a clear recession and that a quick recovery in reducing unemployment is unlikely due to high inflation and excess personnel capacity in companies.

Labor Minister Martin Koher acknowledged the difficult economic environment and pointed out that despite a decrease in vacancies reported to AMS compared to the previous year by 18%, there is still high demand for skilled workers in sectors such as tourism. The Skilled Labor Barometer also points to opportunities in industries such as electrical installation and cooking. The hope is to ease and increase work permits to respond to labor market challenges.

The Chamber of Labor highlighted the increase in long-term unemployment, especially among those with health problems and elderly people. They expressed concerns about financial difficulties faced by households affected by unemployment. Despite this, older workers aged 60 and over have recently seen an increase in employment.

Amid criticism from opposition parties for its perceived lack of action on addressing rising unemployment, the government has been called out for its silence on this matter. The Director General of OGB also expressed concern about the mismatch between rising unemployment and demand for skilled workers, especially within certain sectors such as tourism.

By Samantha Johnson

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