POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Luxembourg jobless claims spiked in mid-March



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The number of residents filing for unemployment insurance temporarily surged immediately after coronavirus restrictions shut down construction sites in mid-March, according to the Adem jobs agency. Library picture: Adem information materials are seen during a press conference in May 2019. Photo: Matic Zorman 

Both the number of resident jobseekers and Luxembourg’s unemployment rate rose significantly, if unsurprisingly, last month as the country faces the coronavirus lockdown.

There were 18,398 resident jobseekers at the end of March 2020, a 17.4% increase compared to March 2019, according to Adem, the jobs agency.

This included 3,142 new jobless claims in March 2020, which is 25.2% higher than the number for March 2019. Adem stated in a 20 April press release:

“This increase occurred during the week of March 16, following the confinement. The influx is mainly due to temporary workers in the construction industry, a sector that has been totally shut down since then. Since the week of 23 March, the opening of new jobseekers’ files fell back to the level observed at the beginning of the month.”

The construction sector was authorised to recommence activity starting on 20 April.

Adem said there were 9,040 people receiving full unemployment benefits last month, a year-on-year increase of 11.1%.

The number of non-resident jobseekers rose by 13.1% year-on-year, to 2,971 as of 31 March 2020.

Bosses, on the other hand, posted notably fewer job listings. There were 2,412 vacancies listed with Adem during March 2020, 35.1% fewer than during March 2019.

According to Statec, the national statistics bureau, Luxembourg’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.6% in March 2020, up from 5.5% in February 2020 and 5.4% in March 2019.

None of these figures included employees put on the country’s short-time working scheme. As of 6 April, around 16% of Luxembourg’s workforce, more than 73,000 employees, were enrolled in the programme. The government is expected to release an update on applications to the scheme on 23 April.