Business News

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In Business News: the number of applicants per job stands at 5.2, the lowest figure for eight years; the country's biggest steelworks is to let 1,000 workers go, with more redundancies likely to follow; domestic car-production was up a phenomenal 85 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2006; the average size of apartments which received planning permission in May was a full 25 percent bigger than the year before; and Czech bookmakers report June was their best month ever, thanks to the World Cup.

Number of applicants per job lowest for eight years

The number of applicants per job in the Czech Republic currently stands at 5.2, the lowest figure for eight years, Hospodarske noviny reported this week. But that good news naturally doesn't apply everywhere - in unemployment-hit Karvina, north Moravia almost 35 applications are made for every free place. Overall joblessness in the Czech Republic stood at 7.7 percent last month, the lowest since 2002; of the former communist states in the region only Slovenia has lower long-term unemployment.

Country's biggest steelworks makes layoffs

The world's largest steel company, Mittal, is to cut the workforce at Mittal Steel Ostrava by around 1,000, in an effort to bring productivity closer to western European standards. A spokesperson said on Thursday more job losses can be expected in the coming years at the Czech Republic's biggest steelworks, which currently employs almost 9,000 people. Profit in the year to the end of February fell by 45 percent, to just over 200 million dollars.

Car production up staggering 85 percent year-on-year in first quarter

In the same week that Skoda Auto produced its 10 millionth car, it was announced that domestic car-production was up an amazing 85 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2006. That phenomenal increase was mainly down to higher output at Skoda and the start of full operation at the Toyota-Peugeot-Citroen plant in Kolin.

Czech companies report record volumes of new orders

Czech firms have reported record volumes of new orders; in May orders were up to over 6.5 billion dollars, a rise of almost one third year-on-year, according to the Czech Statistics Office. Economist Pavel Mertlik told Hospodarske noviny that the volume of orders meant Czech firms were secure for the short and medium term. While cars are of course a major engine of this growth, orders are also up in the electronics, optical instruments and metallurgy sectors.

New flats getting bigger as VAT change approaches

New flats in the Czech Republic are getting bigger. The average size of apartments which received planning permission in May was 127 m2 - a full 25 percent bigger than a year previously, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Experts say the reason is fear of price increases from 2008, when value added tax on construction work is set to enter the 19-percent bracket, as an exemption secured with EU accession comes to an end. The outgoing government has prepared legislation under which flats under 90 m2 would be considered "social" - this means it is mainly those who want bigger homes who are racing against the clock.

June record month for Czech bookies thanks to World Cup

Czech bookmakers report that June was their best month ever, thanks to the football World Cup in Germany. Czechs bet over 65 million US dollars during the biggest sporting event of the year, much more than experts had predicted, the Czech Press Agency reported. It is believed that many Czechs also bet through bookies outside the Czech Republic, via the internet - that despite the fact that internet betting is illegal in this country. Other businesses also benefited from the World Cup - electronics retailers reported selling more LCD and plasma televisions than classic sets, something previously unheard of in the Czech Republic.