In Business News this week: Czechs now earn 79 percent of the European Union average per capita gross domestic product; the unemployment rate falls slightly to 6.3 percent; as employers complain they cannot find staff, the Labour Ministry says the number of foreigners working legally in the Czech Republic has more than doubled; Czechs are signing up for mortgages in ever increasing numbers; and Czechs are buying more cars - but fewer Skodas.
Czechs make 79 percent of EU average per capita GDP
Unemployment falls slightly to 6.3 percent
The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic has made another slight fall; it stood at 6.3 percent in June, down from 6.4 percent the previous month. The number of Czech job seekers in June was just under 350,000. The new figures have prompted more reports that employers in many sectors are experiencing difficulties hiring staff.
Number of legal foreign workers continues to rise
Meanwhile, the Labour Ministry said on Friday that there had been a rise of over 10 percent in the number of foreigners working legally in the Czech Republic between January and July this year. There are over 200,000 legal foreign workers in the country, almost twice as many as at the end of 2004. Almost half of them are from Slovakia, followed by Ukraine with over 50,000 and Poland with more than 21,000.
Mortgage sales up despite higher interest rates
Hop capital gets LCD screen plant
Zatec in north-west Bohemia is famous for producing the Czech Republic's best hops. But now the town is home to another industry, with the Japanese electronics maker IPS Alpha recently opening a new plant there manufacturing LCD screens. By the end of the year the factory could be turning out up to 7,000 screens a day, its director told a daily newspaper this week.
Car sales up, but fewer Czechs buying Skodas
Czechs are buying more cars in total but fewer Czech-made Skodas, it was reported this week. Almost 70,000 new passenger cars were sold in the first half of this year - a 6-percent rise compared to the same period in 2006. Skoda Auto did remain the best-selling make, though the company's share of the market dropped from 41 percent to under 37 percent.
Overall car numbers past 4 million
Meanwhile, the total number of cars owned in the Czech Republic rose from 3.7 million in the year 2000 to 4.1 million late last year, Hospodarske noviny reported, quoting a survey conducted for the Transport Ministry. However, many Czechs are getting about in aging motors: two-fifths of the country's passenger cars are at least 15 years old, the Association of Automotive Industries said this week.