The Czech Republic has the lowest jobless rate in the European Union with vacancies now outstripping the registered unemployed. But moves to attract workers from Ukraine are being hampered by red tape. That sparked a lightning visit last week by the Czech labour minister and a raft of reforms are now promised.
After strong growth last year, the Czech Republic’s economy continues to thrive. Indeed, according to freshly released preliminary figures, gross domestic product expanded by 4.5 percent in the first quarter. This was down from the 5.5 percent recorded in the final quarter of last year but is still a notable result. I discussed the new data with economist Jan Bureš of Patria Finance.
Czech unemployment fell to 3.2 percent in April from March’s 3.5 percent,
according to figures released from the national labour office. It said that
seasonal work was now in full swing and the jobless total could increase in
The office added it had almost 243,000 job seekers on its books. That’s the lowest figure since August 1997. In April 2017, the jobless rate was 4.4 percent.
The number of vacancies, at just over 267,000. once again exceeded the jobless total in the country. Most job offers are in Prague, central Bohemia, the Plzeň and Pardubice regions.
State expenditures for wages of public sector employees rose by 15.2
billion crowns last year reaching 166.6 billion crowns, according to a
government report presented to Parliament.
The average wage of public employees reached 30.627 crown a month in 2017, while the average wage in the country is 29.504 crowns a month. The number of public sector employees grew by over nine thousand, the report says.
The biggest grouping of Czech trades unions, the Confederation of Czech and
Moravian Trades Unions, is focusing on higher wages and a shorter working
week at a two day congress in the capital, Prague, beginning Friday.
The unions want to see a cut in the working week by 2.5 hours. They also want to see a 1,500 crown hike in the minimum wage from January next year from the current 12,200 crowns to 13,700 crowns. The unions point out that past increases in the minimum wage have not dented the performance of the Czech economy, as employers had warned.
The two-day meeting should elect a new leadership for the next four years. The only contender to be chairman is the current incumbent, Josef Středula.
Forty-five percent of Czechs see the country’s economic situation in a
positive light according to the outcome of a poll conducted by the CVVM
agency. Six percent of those see it as very positive.
Sixteen percent of respondents said they were not happy with the situation. More than half of Czechs said they were happy with their own living standard.
In recent years the Czech Republic has seen steady economic growth and record-low unemployment.
The governor of the Czech National Bank, Jiří Rusnok, has said wage rises
next year in the country can be expected to slow down.
Speaking on public broadcaster, Czech Television, Rusnok said on Sunday that real wage rises should be in line with real economic growth, that is somewhere around 4.0 percent.
In the last quarter of 2017 Czech gross average monthly wages exceeded 30,000 crowns for the first time after an 8.0 percent rise. Taking account for inflation the real wage rise was 5.3 percent with year on year growth in the quarter 5.2 percent.
Rusnok added that current Czech economic growth is around one percentage point lower than it could be if some problems, such as the shortage of labour, could be ironed out.
Czech teachers’ gross monthly wage increased to 31,632 crowns last year,
which is an increase by 7.3 percent on the previous year, according to data
released by the Czech Education Ministry on Wednesday.
Over the past five years, teachers’ salaries have increased by 19 percent, which is the most rapid wage growth increase in recent years.
The average gross monthly wage in the Czech Republic increased last year by seven percent to 29,504 crowns.