Czech unemployment reaches 10-months high

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The Czech unemployment rate increased to 8.9 percent in December 2001 from 8.5 percent in November. The figure is the highest in the last ten months. The highest unemployment - over 20 percent - remains in the mining and heavy industry regions of North Bohemia and North Moravia. On the other hand, the capital Prague and the surrounding districts have the lowest number of jobless - around 3 percent.

According to analysts, the Czech unemployment is becoming a structural problem caused by market rigidities and excessive welfare benefits rather than by low economic performance. Analysts expect the unemployment rate to increase further in January due to both seasonal fluctuation of employment in farming and the construction industry, but also due to the impact of the global recession on the Czech economy.