Data published in October 2022 by Eurostat- euroindicators show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the EU area was 6.5%. This is down from 6.6% in September 2022 and 7.3% in October 2021. The equivalent numbers for Switzerland show that the unemployment rate in November 2022 stood at 2% or 91’327. This is up from 1.9% in October 2022.
And with the number of employed persons in Switzerland decreasing slightly to 5.141 million in Q3/22 versus 5.144 Q2/ 2022 – the economic situation in Switzerland still appears to be very healthy.
Specific Sector Performance
- The food service market sector: in Switzerland was valued at US$13.9 billion in 2020. And the compound annual grow rate forecast from 2021-25 forecast at 14.5%. As might be expected – the sector comprising of Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), Full-Service Restaurants (FSR), Coffee & Tea Shop, and Pub, Club & Bars is now on the rebound from the recent pandemic, which saw wages of employees across the industry falling by 10%-15% as a direct result of Covid-19. Now the number of people actively working in hotel and restaurant jobs rose by 8,700 (+3.8%).
- The Pharmaceutical Sector: is now the largest industry in Switzerland. And demand is not subject to cyclical or unique fluctuations such as the recent pandemic. Employment in this sector has grown sharply over the past decade leading to more than 12,000 jobs being created over the last ten years, bringing the total number of people employed in the industry today to 45’500.
- Banking & Finance: Swiss banks are still looking for skilled workers and job vacancies in the Swiss financial sector remain high, and with 5,700 jobs advertised in the financial services sector Q3/2022, which is about 350 more than in Q1/2022. The unemployment rate in the banking sector, currently stands at 2.1 percent, which is about the same as in the overall Swiss labor market.
- Watch Making: The Swiss watch industry is responsible for around 1.5% of Switzerland’s GDP, making it the country’s third biggest export sector behind the pharmaceutical-chemical, and machine tool sectors. The watch industry in Switzerland currently employs over 57,000 people with over 40’000 of these being employed directly in production in the around 500 watch companies. The sector was particularly hard hit during Covid with exports falling by 25% as a result. The situation in 2021 recovered and the sector had a banner year, exporting a record $21.5 billion in timepieces. The outlook for the coming year is positive.
Worker numbers were also up in business services (+5.1%), manufacturing (+0.7%) and construction (+1.0%).
Large rise in job vacancies
By the end of 2021, there were 32’900 more job vacancies that at the end of 2020. This marks a rise of an astonishing 50%. The number of vacant positions actually grew by 59.4% in the secondary sector and 47.5% in the tertiary sector, adding a further 32’900 vacancies bringing the total to 98’600.
The job situation in Switzerland improved further in 2022 despite inflation, war and fears of recession. The Swiss labor market is now showing unprecedented levels of success:
- Unemployment is lower than it has been for 20 years. For 2022 as a whole, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) stated that the unemployment rate recorded an average rate of 2.2 percent. This is 0.8 percentage points lower than in the previous year.
- In absolute terms, 99’577 people were registered as unemployed last year, 38’037 fewer than the year before (-27.6%).
- The last time a lower unemployment rate reported was in 2001 with 1.7 percent.
- SECO statistics for December 2022 showed that 96’941 people were registered as unemployed with the regional employment centres (RAV). This means the rate of unemployment for the last month was 2.1 percent versus 2.0 percent in November.
- The unemployment rate is usually subject to seasonal fluctuations and the SECO unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal factors, actually fell to 1.9 percent in December 2022 from 2.0 percent in the previous month.
- Compared with December 2021, the number of unemployed was 24’787 lower. It was thus 20.4 percent lower.
The percentage of employers now reporting difficulty finding qualified staff rose 8.2 percentage points to 36.3%.
- At the end of 2021, Switzerland had 98’600 vacancies and 121’728 unemployed.
- In Geneva, a canton with a persistently high rate of unemployment, the number of vacancies (14’085) exceeded the number of job seekers (10’851), a rate of 1.3 vacancies per job seeker.
- Job numbers rose across all of Switzerland with sharp rises in the secondary and tertiary areas in the Lake Geneva region (+2.6%), Zurich (+2.9%) and central Switzerland (+3.1%).
With statistics like these, it should come as no surprise that Switzerland is still a popular destination for foreign workers looking to find well paid work. But an influx of (more) foreign workers also brings its challenges. And finding an affordable place to live is just one issue that is a hot topic right now.
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