CH: Unemployment

Thu Mar 08 00:45:00 CST 2018

Consensus Actual Previous
SECO (NSA) 3.2% 3.2% 3.3%
SNB (SA) 2.9% 2.9% 3.0%

Joblessness fell 5,231 or 3.5 percent to 143,930 in February. This was enough to reduce the unemployment rate by a tick to 3.2 percent, some 0.4 percentage points below its level a year ago. February is seasonally a strong month for jobs but even after seasonal adjustment, unemployment still decreased 1,877 or 1.4 percent to 132,014. This was sufficient to lower the adjusted rate from 3.0 percent to 2.9 percent, its first sub-3 percent reading since August 2012.

There was also good news on vacancies which rose an adjusted 0.5 percent on the month to 12,843. Compared with February 2017, they climbed an unadjusted 9.0 percent.

The February labour market data are strong and suggest that the improvement in economic growth seen over the second half of last year has been carried forward into the current quarter. Even so, domestic inflation pressures have yet to respond so there are no significant near-term implications for SNB policy.

The unemployment rate measures the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labour force. Both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly data are provided.

Like the employment data, unemployment data help to gauge the current state as well as the future direction of the economy. Employment data are categorized by sectors. This sector data can go a long way in helping investors determine in which economic sectors they intend to invest.

By tracking the jobs data, investors can sense the degree of tightness in the job market. If employment is tight it is a good bet that interest rates will rise and bond and stock prices will fall. In contrast, when job growth is slow or negative, then interest rates are likely to decline - boosting up bond and stock prices in the process.