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Unemployment Figure Hits 110,000 in December (adds)

Ljubljana, 06 January (STA) - There were 110,021 registered unemployed persons in Slovenia in December 2010, which is 6% more than in November and 13.8% more than a year ago, the Employment Service said on Thursday.

The service saw the average of 100,504 registered unemployed persons last year, which is 16.4% more than in 2009. It expects the average for 2011 to stand at 105,000.

A total of 57,004 persons registered as unemployed found a job in 2010, up 17.4% from the year before.

"Despite the increasing number of unemployed, employment trends are favourable," acting director general Lucka Zizek told the press in Ljubljana.

December saw 14,846 newly-registered unemployed persons, which is comparable to November, when the service recorded the highest monthly figure.

The share of long-term unemployed fell by more than a half in comparison to November, while the share of unemployed persons aged over 50 increased. The share of men and redundant workers also increased.

The service struck from its records a total of 8,656 persons in December, of which 4,721 found employment or got self-employed. Employers meanwhile reported 14,328 vacant jobs, a drop of 2.9% over November and a 23% rise over December 2009.

There were a total of 174,613 available jobs in 2010, which is 8.2% more than in the year before.

The trend of increasing demand for workers is expected to continue. The biggest demand is expected in manufacturing, pharmacy, health care and seasonal activities in catering and tourism.

But the Employment Service expects a further increase in the number of unemployed in January, primarily in the construction sector, because of the expiry of fixed-term contracts, added Zizek's deputy Mavricija Batic.

Unemployment figures are expected to continue increasing until March, after which is should start dropping. The lowest unemployment figure is projected for July and August.

Meanwhile, head of the Institute for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (IMAD) Bostjan Vasle told business daily Finance yesterday that a total of 40,000 jobs were lost in Slovenia in 2009, and another 10,000 in 2010.

The government macroeconomic think-tank projects that unemployment growth will slow in 2011, with the first decrease in the jobless number expected only in 2012.

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