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No ‘dramatic’ increase in unemployment, minster says

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou acknowledged the slow pace at which benefits applications get processed

Measures taken to support businesses hit by the pandemic have helped dampen rising unemployment, according to Labour Minister, Zeta Emilianidou.

She also said the government would cooperate with local authorities to help people who are in need.

Speaking during an online conference organised by Limassol Municipality and Frederick University on the repercussions of the pandemic and strategies for recovery, Emilianidou said that there was no doubt that the pandemic had created real problems for businesses and employees.

The latest measures announced this week have seen more small businesses, cafe and restaurants and malls having to shutter in the crucial Christmas period.

Elaborating on the measures taken to keep joblessness at a minimum, the minister said that when employees are supported and part of their salary is being subsidised, businesses do not have to deal with all of their labour costs.

All of the measures, along with those which the finance minister has announced, will help avert a dramatic increase in unemployment, she added. Emilianidou said the pandemic will pass but a high unemployment rate will take years to come out of.

Emilianidou said that many people were facing enormous financial problems but she said the government has been trying to assist. Despite the minister’s assurances, there are many people on furlough from there jobs who are still waiting for their state assistance.

According to the latest figures this week, unemployment in the third quarter reached 8.2 per cent compared with 6.7 per cent in the third quarter of the previous year.

The labour force in the 3rd quarter of 2020 amounted to 452,154 persons or 62.9 per cent of the population (males 70.0 per cent, females 56.4 per cent) in comparison with 447,206 persons (63.0 per cent) in the corresponding quarter of 2019,” CyStat said.

The number of employed persons was 414,920 and the employment rate 57.7 per cent (males 64,5 per cent, females 51,5 per cent) in comparison to 417.118 persons (58,7 per cent) in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

The number of unemployed persons amounted to 37,234 and the unemployment rate to 8.2 per cent of the labour force (males 7.9 per cent, females 8.6 per cent) in comparison with 30,088 persons (6.7 per cent) in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

For those aged 15-24 years, the unemployment rate was 20.4 per cent (males 30.2 per cent, females 10.8 per cent) in comparison to 15.6 per cent (males 18.3 per cent, females 13.3 per cent) in the corresponding quarter of last year.

As far as the duration of unemployment is concerned, 53.3 per cent of the total unemployed persons were searching for a job for a period of less than six months, 19.6 per cent for a period of 6-11 months, whereas 27.1 per cent were long-term unemployed. The corresponding rates for the 3rd quarter of 2019 were 57.8 per cent, 11.3 per cent and 30.9 per cent.

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