Results of the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) and released February 24 show that 61,300 people aged 15–74 were unemployed in 2019.
Compared to 2018, the number of unemployed persons dropped substantially by 11,500 or 15.8 %.
Last year, the Latvian unemployment rate constituted 6.3 %, which is 1.1 percentage points lower than in 2018. Unemployment among females was lower than among males – 5.4 % and 7.2 %, respectively.
As for quarterly data, compared to the 3 rd quarter, in the 4 th quarter of 2019 the unemployment rate did not change and constituted 6.0 %.
For well over a decade – since the 3 rd quarter of 2008 – the Latvian unemployment rate exceeded the European Union (EU) average (except for the 1 st quarter of 2015 when both indicators were equal). However, in the 3 rd quarter of 2019, the Latvian unemployment rate (constituting 6.0 %) was 0.1 percentage points under the EU average (6.1 %).
In the 4 th quarter, the unemployment rate in Latvia was higher than in Estonia (4.1 %), while lower than in Lithuania (6.4 %).
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed persons (those who can not find work for 12 months or more) reduced by 7,000, and constituted 23,300 persons.
In 2019, the youth unemployment rate constituted 12.4 %, which is 0.2 percentage points higher than that recorded a year ago (12.2 % in 2018). Out of the total number of unemployed persons, 7,700 or 12.6 % were young people aged 15–24.
Commenting on the figures, Citadele bank economist Mārtiņš Āboliņš said: “Taking into account the current economic uncertainty, unemployment in Latvia could remain at the level of last year or decrease only slightly this year. However, in the medium term, unemployment in Latvia will definitely continue to decline, as people born in the 1990s are entering the Latvian labor market and their number is significantly lower than the number of people reaching retirement age. Already last year, the decline in unemployment in Latvia was more related to the decline in the working-age population than the increase in jobs.”