Jump in Swiss unemployment rate highest among young people

In general, youth suffered the most from job loss in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

The unemployment rate for women aged 15 to 24 jumped from 7.2% to 8% between 2019 and 2020, the biggest increase among all population and age groups in the labour force, the Federal Statistical Office said on Thursday.

This content was published on March 4, 2021 - 13:50

In general, youth suffered the most from job losses in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. For male and female workers aged 25 to 39, the unemployment rate rose from 3.7% in 2019 to 4.4% in 2020.

By contrast, women aged 55 to 64 saw their unemployment rate decline slightly. There were no significant differences in increases in the jobless rate between age groups for men.

According to the International Labour Organisation, which also counts people not officially registered with cantonal job centres (including the long-term unemployed), the overall Swiss jobless rate rose more for men (+0.6 percentage points) than for women (+0.3 points) in 2020.

The proportion of the labour force working full-time remained largely unchanged, at 62.6%. However, trends varied between the sexes. Until 2019, full-time work among women had been declining steadily, but in 2020 this figure increased by 0.7 points to reach nearly 41%.

The reverse is true for men: a downward trend in full-time workers which started in 1995 continued in 2020, when the proportion sat at 81.7%.

Small setback for women in management

The number of women holding managerial positions has risen over the last 30 years but fell slightly in 2020, when women made up 36% of all supervisory roles. That year 16.9% of working women held a clear management position, just below the peak of 17.4% in 2019. The increase in the proportion of women supervisors has been very slow since 2005, the statistical office said.

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