BRATISLAVA Dec 20 Slovakia's jobless rate fell
to 8.8 percent in November, the lowest level since December
2008, data showed on Tuesday, as a strong-growing economy puts
more people in work but is leaving companies concerned over a
looming worker shortage.
The Slovak economy, fuelled by a booming car industry, is
expected to grow more than 3 percent this year and maintain a
strong pace in the coming years as the country's fourth car
factory comes online in 2018.
Slovakia, the world's biggest per capita car producer, is
home to three car factories - run by Volkswagen, Kia
and Peugeot - and Jaguar Land Rover is
building a new plant.
Jaroslav Holecek, an official with the Automotive Industry
Association, said the industry would need 14,000 new workers in
the next two or three years.
About 8,000 could be found through re-qualification courses
among the already unemployed, he said, "but the rest would have
to be covered by foreign workers, which is not a systemic
solution but a one-off sticking plaster to the industry".
A Manpower Group survey showed earlier this month up to 44
percent of Slovak firms faced problems finding staff.
"With unemployment at around 9 percent there should be
enough workers in theory but most of the available unemployed
don't have the required education or skills," the survey said.
The government of Prime Minister Robert Fico sought to cut
the unemployment rate which is the highest among its central
European neighbours. In the Czech Republic, unemployment has
dropped to 4.9 percent and is the lowest in the European Union.
"The economy has created as many as 63,500 new jobs this
year and we're on track to meet the goal of creating 100,000
jobs by 2020 sooner than expected," Fico said on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Jason Hovet and