Geneva: unemployment soars.

Fonction News

For the last 20 years, Geneva's unemployment office has seen its queues get longer than anywhere else in the country.

Today, the rate of unemployment has risen to seven per cent--almost three per cent higher than the national average.

Local officials believe that economic factors such as stiff competition and the sluggish state of the national economy for the region's poor track record are to blame. Analysts tend to agree. In addition, they also blame the canton's unemployment insurance scheme for allowing so many people to remain on the dole.

"The fact that wages tend to be very attractive in Geneva certainly leads a lot of people to seek work here," says Yves Fluckiger of Geneva University's Employment Observatory. "But it's also a social problem because Geneva has a special system that allows job seekers to remain unemployed for up to five years and that doesn't really exist elsewhere in the country," he continues.

The Swiss economics ministry has urged the canton to reform its unique temporary work programme, which offers short-term public sector jobs to people whose benefits have run out.

The problem with the scheme, says Fluckiger, is that such placements last 12 months, after which job seekers are...

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