Actual (Jan): 9.1 %
Consensus: 9.1 %
Previous (Dec): 8.6 %
The unemployment rate has surged above 9 pct at the beginning of the year. However, we can see the same picture every year, thus the figures are no surprise. Activity in construction is subdued in winter, which leads to a seasonal drop in employment. Moreover, personnel changes in companies also take place during December/January. We can see this in the elevated flows, hiring and layoffs, on the labor market.
Negative news is that the economic activity is weakening and so is job creation. The number of vacancies decreased once again and fell below 35 k to the lowest level since March 2011. As the economy is expected to nearly stagnate this year, the unemployment rate has low chance to improve significantly except for some seasonal swings. We see the s.a. unemployment around 8.5 pct this year, roughly unchanged from 2011.