Prague - The jobless rate in the Czech Republic hit an all-time record in January, when it increased to 8.6 percent from 8.2 percent in December 2013, the Employment Office said today.
The number of jobless people reached 629,274 at the end of January, which was 32,441 more than at the end of 2013.
Despite mild winter, unemployment was affected by the suspension of seasonal work in construction, agriculture and forestry.
"For the first time in the history of the independent Czech Republic, the number of job seekers exceeded the level of 600,000, hitting another sad record," Akcenta analyst Miroslav Novak said.
According to Novak, a moderate decrease in unemployment can be expected in the second half of this year, when economic revival should influence the labour market.
"In general, there will be a lack of jobs, owing to which the low growth of wages will continue," Novak added.
Out of the total number of unemployed, 614,870 people were ready to commence work immediately and 614,223 were aged between 15 and 64.
The number of vacancies rose by 1,216 to 36,394 against December.
There were 17.3 job seekers per vacancy on average. The highest rate of 85.5 job seekers per vacancy was recorded in the Jesenik district in northern Moravia. Over 50 job seekers per vacancy were registered in the districts of Bruntal, Karvina and Prerov, all northern Moravia.
Newly, 81,441 jobless people got registered at employment offices, up by 21,701 compared with December.
A total of 29,573 applicants found new jobs, with 2,050 finding them with the help of employment offices.
The lowest unemployment rate was recorded in Prague-East (3.6 pct), Prague-West (4.4 pct), Mlada Boleslav (4.9 pct) and Prague (5.4 pct). The highest unemployment rate was registered in Bruntal (15.2 pct), Jesenik (14.6 pct), Most (14 pct), Usti nad Labem (13 pct), and Karvina and Znojmo (12.8 pct each).
Employment offices registered 297,235 unemployed women at the end of January, which is 47.2 percent of the total number of job seekers.
A total of 150,528, or 23.9 percent of registered job seekers received unemployment benefits
According to unemployment data from Eurostat, used for international comparison, the Czech Republic's jobless rate reaches 6.87 percent, which is 3.9 percentage points below the EU average.