Swiss July Unemployment Still at Highest Level Since 2010

Swiss unemployment was unchanged at the highest since 2010 in July, indicating that the economy remains at risk of being dragged down by the recession in the neighboring euro area.

The jobless rate, adjusted for seasonal swings, stayed at 3.2 percent in July, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern said in an e-mailed statement today. That’s in line with the median estimate of 11 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The unadjusted jobless rate rose to 3 percent from 2.9 percent in June.

Consumer demand has underpinned the Swiss economy, helping it to expand 0.6 percent in first quarter, growing faster than in neighboring Germany. A cap of 1.20 per euro on the franc, set by the Swiss National Bank in September 2011, has also helped Switzerland avoid the slump that has befallen the 17-member euro area. The currency union’s jobless rate, calculated according to the International Labor Organization’s definition, held at 12.1 percent in June.

“Swiss companies were really hard hit by the export situation with the Swiss franc and the euro,” Dominik De Daniel, Chief Financial Officer of Adecco SA, the world’s largest provider of temporary workers, said in a telephone interview today. “It’s now going in the right direction. Swiss companies have used the past 12 to 18 months to adapt their cost structure.”

SNB President Thomas Jordan said at the central bank’s most recent policy review in June that the franc was still strong and that risks to the Swiss economy due to the sovereign debt crisis remained high. Even so, the SNB expects economic growth of 1 percent to 1.5 percent this year.

In Switzerland, the number of job openings fell by 610 to 14,037 in July, today’s report showed. A total of 181,398 people were looking for a job, 1,592 more than in the previous month.

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