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According to official figures released by the Austrian government unemployment in December 2009 was up by 14.6% compared to December 2008.
313,000 people were registered as unemployed in December 2009 and a further 69,000 were registered as 'in training'. This takes the official unemployment rate to 4.8%, which in spite of its sharp increase is still one of the lowest in the European Union.
Rudolf Hundstorfer, Minister for Social Affairs, has announced that the Austrian government will prioritise professional training in 2010 and has therefore increased the budget for 'active labour market policies' by 69 million Euro to 1.45 billion Euro.
The Institute for Economic Research (Wirtschaftsforschungsintitut) has predicted that the unemployment rate in Austria will rise from 4.8% to 5.2% in 2010.
Maria Hofstaetter from the Austrian government job centres (Arbeitsmarktservice) said "the open question is how many of those who are on a reduced working hours scheme will end up as unemployed. The most endangered are men who work in manufacturing, especially older ones and the less qualified."