Unemployment rate rocketed to 8.9% in December 2001 from 8.5% in November. The number was in line with our expectations while it was above the market consensus. Unemployment rate at the end of 2001 was thus marginally higher than at the end of 2000, regardless rather robust economic growth in 2001: This justifies our January Macroeconomic Focus
. point that the Czech unemployment rapidly gets structural character, i.e. is caused more by market rigidities and excessive welfare benefits than by economy's low performance.
We will add further comments when the data from the Ministry of Labor are available.