Booming Czech economy posts record number of job vacancies

The Czech Republic saw a record number of vacancies on the job market in August - Labour Offices around the country were advertising more than 130,000 jobs last month, 10,000 more than the previous month. But what sounds like great news for the Czech economy is actually causing headaches for some firms.

Labour Offices were offering a record 133,500 jobs last month, some 10,000 more than in July. The real figure is most likely even higher, as many firms don't use Labour Offices to advertise vacancies. The figures come on top of record low unemployment figures showing the rate of jobless stable for a second consecutive month. Tomas Sedlacek is Chief Economic Strategist at CSOB bank.

"This is good news. It shows that the economy is generating new demand for workforce, and that the market is not able to satisfy it. Our levels of unemployment, which according to European statistics has fallen to as low as 5.5 percent, is exceptionally low by European standards and the Czech Republic is in fact much closer in terms of unemployment to the United States of America or Japan. We have much more similar unemployment rates to those countries now than to the rest of Europe, and that's something we haven't had for some time - our levels of unemployment have always been very similar to the European average. It all speaks of the fact that our economy is really gaining speed."

But what is certainly a sign of strong economic growth also presents problems for employers, particularly those looking for highly skilled professionals in the booming IT or service sectors. Tomas Sedlacek again.

"First of all it's a natural tendency, in a way we can look at it as a good symbol. However I hear from foreign businessmen and women who come to the Czech Republic is that they can't find higher skilled workers and often ship in or borrow employees from Poland or other countries. Another factor is that our social system is quite meek and quite benevolent and so it doesn't really motivate people to seek jobs. And the third factor is that naturally the government has to rethink its policy aimed at unemployed people and perhaps change it in a way to make it less appealing to be unemployed."

The latest figures were accompanied by data showing that industrial output - another key indicator of a healthy economy - also continued to rise, increasing in July by 11.56 percent. Economists say this figure is also highly encouraging, but add that if firms can't find people to make products and offer services, the booming Czech economy could be heading for trouble.