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Austria – More temporary workers lose jobs as unemployment increases

06 August 2012

Austria’s unemployment rate increased by +8.6% or 227,869 in July with all sectors seeing a rise in joblessness, including temporary staffing. The latest figures by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK) show that the temporary staffing industry has been suffering from declining activities for months. This continued into the month of July where unemployment among temporary staff was up by +16.8%.

The ministerial spokesman Norbert Schnurrer told Staffing Industry Analysts that 24,755 temporary agency workers were out of work in July. While there is no reliable data on sector-specific joblessness for temporary workers as they often switch jobs, he said, most agency staff are active in industry and construction.

The rise in unemployment impacted all sectors and all regions, the statistics showed. Sectors that typically rely on temporary workers were especially affected. Last year, most of the 75,000 temporary workers in Austria were employed in industry where July unemployment was up by +4.9%. In construction this increased by +9.9% while in trade, joblessness increased by 6.7% and by+8.8% in tourism. In the healthcare and social sectors unemployment was up by +11.8%. 

At 4.5% Austria has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and although employment levels were up in the month, this was not able to compensate for the rise in the number of people out of work.  “Many of Austria’s most important trade partners have slumped into a recession… this reduces the economic dynamic in Austria, which is highly dependent on trade and tourism,” Social Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer said.

The association of employment agencies of the Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO) recently warned that new legislative changes will heavily weigh on the temporary staffing industry in the country.

Some of the largest players, ManpowerGroup and Trenkwalder, have this year spoken out against legislative changes which will charge employment agencies a sum of €110 on the termination of a contract with temporary workers – even if the worker finds permanent employment elsewhere. This has sparked fears that more jobs in the sector will be lost and staffing firms might move abroad to avoid higher costs.

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