May 7, 2018 / 11:39 AM / 13 days ago

Number of jobless in Slovenia falls to nine-year low in April

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - The number of people without jobs in Slovenia fell in April to its lowest level in more than nine years, the national Employment Service said on Monday.

The number of unemployed was 78,555 in April, down 3.3 percent on March and 13.8 percent lower than a year earlier. It is the lowest figure since February 2009.

The percentage of unemployed in the workforce in April will be published in June. In February, the latest number available, the jobless rate was 9.1 percent with 85,683 unemployed.

The Employment Service said the number of jobless fell in all regions of the east European nation.

“In the first four months of this year, we had on average 83,344 registered unemployed, which is 14.8 percent less than in the comparable period of 2017,” it said.

Slovenia, which narrowly avoided an international bailout for its banks in 2013, returned to growth in 2014 and the government expects the economy to expand by 5.1 percent this year, boosted by exports and investments.

Economic growth was 5 percent in 2017.

Unemployment has fallen steadily, and companies increasingly complain about the difficulty of finding qualified workers.

“Many positions remain ... empty, which is hurting the economy as well as society as a whole,” the Chamber of Commerce and Industry said last month, calling for more programmes to offer education and training to the unemployed.

In April, most new jobs were created in manufacturing and construction, while more positions were also available for truck drivers and waiters, the Employment Service said.

Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Edmund Blair

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