Although last year there was a slight increase in unemployment in Latvia, the second wave of Covid-19 has yet to leave a tangible effect, said the director of the Latvian State Employment Agency (NVA) Evita Simsone.
“The current unemployment level is slightly up, and so far we have yet to see any major influence from the second wave. This is largely due to support measures available to businesses during the crisis,” said Simsone.
She added that around mid-summer 2020, following the first wave, there was a reduction of the unemployment level. This trend remained until November 2020. The level of unemployment in December 2020 started to increase, reaching 7.7% of economically active residents at the end of December 2020. When compared to November 2020, this is an increase of 0.3%.
At the end of December 2020 there were 69,605 unemployed people registered with NVA.
“If we compared unemployment data from the end of 2020 with the beginning of 2020, the registered unemployment level increased by 1.5% when compared to the end of December 2019, when it was 6.2%,” said NVA head.
Simsone admitted in the first wave of the pandemic unemployment index increase was very rapid.
“At the end of March 2020, there was the most rapid increase of unemployment. In March and April 2020 unemployment status was provided to 26,590 people. While 2020 started off with 6.2% unemployment, as of the end of April 2020 it was 8%, in May 2020 it was 8.4% and in June 2020 – 8.6%. This is why there is no way to conclude the influence of Covid-19 on unemployment is negligible. Later, however, these indexes equalized and reduced. The level of unemployment registered in August 2020 declined to 8.2% and to 7.4% in October and November 2020,” said NVA director.
She predicted that the real influence of the second wave of Covid-19 would be seen this year.
“In 2020, there was no rapid increase of unemployment. However, we will see the true influence of the second wave this year. It is expected that this year unemployment in Latvia will not exceed 10%. However, this is just an outlook. Time will tell how quickly we exit the crisis,” said Simsone. (BNN/Business World Magazine)