May 6, 2020 / 12:06 PM / 25 days ago

Slovenia jobless soars by 20% due to coronavirus

LJUBLJANA, May 6 (Reuters) - The number of jobless people in Slovenia jumped by 19.9% year-on-year in April due to the coronavirus epidemic, reaching the highest level in three years, the Employment Service said on Wednesday.

It said the jobless number reached 88,648 and was 13.9% higher than in March.

April’s unemployment rate will be given by the Service in June. It reached 7.9% in February when there were 77,484 people out of a job.

Slovenia has so far reported 1448 coronavirus cases and 99 deaths.

The service said the number of new jobs that were being offered in April was 41% lower than a month ago and 60% lower than in April 2019. Most new jobs were for constructions workers and truck drivers.

Since the middle of March, Slovenia has closed all schools, bars, restaurants, hotels, cultural and sports centres and many shops. It has also cancelled public transport and prohibited socialising in public spaces to prevent the spread of the virus.

Many companies had to suspend or reduce production due to lower demand, a lack of production parts or with an aim to stem the spread of the virus.

The government’s macroeconomic institute said on Tuesday GDP could fall by 15% or more this year if the coronavirus lockdown persisted longer than expected.

Slovenia started to lift the lockdown from April 20 when a number of shops and car service centres were allowed to open.

Bars and restaurants have been allowed to serve food outdoors since Monday while public transport will gradually restart from May 11. Some pupils will return to school on May 18 but most will continue to attend lessons online until the end of the school year in late June. (Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Alison Williams)

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