Poland’s unemployment rate climbed to 13.4 percent in December, from 12.9 percent the previous month, due to an economic slowdown and a seasonal loss of many outdoor jobs. The Main Statistical Office said Thursday that some 2.14 million people in this nation of 38 million were without a job at the end of December. Unemployment usually rises in Poland in winter, when outdoor jobs are lost due to snow and low temperatures. Additionally, Europe’s economic jitters have affected Poland, where growth is expected to slow to about 1.5 percent this year, from an estimated 2.3 percent in 2012 and 4.3 percent in 2011. Some industries, such as car manufacturing, have been hit by massive layoffs and more jobs are to be lost this year.
Unemployment is one of the most serious economic and social problems in Poland. The unemployment rate has been growing successively in the recent years: in 1998 it was 10.6 %, and in 2002 almost 20%. That unfavorable trend changed in 2003. The biggest drop of the unemployment rate took place, however, in 2006 when the unemployment rate fell below 15%, reaching 8.9% in September 2008. It was the effect of an economic boom which brought more work offers and the growth of the number of working persons. In January 2012 the unemployment rate amounted to 13.2%. In an analogous period of the previous year the unemployment rate amounted to 13.1%. The characteristic feature of unemployment in Poland is its regional diversification, for example, in the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship the unemployment rate in January 2012 was 9.8%, and in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship – 21.1%.
Problems with finding a job are experienced by young people, women and the long-term (over a year) unemployed. Public Employment Services (the network of voivodeship and poviat labour offices) are there to help and give advice to the unemployed and persons who look for a job in order to get an appropriate employment and to employers to find appropriate employees. Therefore, employment services provide a range of services, including: job agency, professional agency or help in active job seeking. Labour offices also carry out various programmes which support local or regional labour markets, register the unemployed and persons looking for a job, pay unemployment benefits, organise trainings in order to give the unemployed greater chances to find a job.
The unemployed can take part in various activities which facilitate their professional activation, inter alia, intervention works, traineeship, on-the-job training, training loans, trainings or support for business activity. As of 1 May 2004 Polish Public Employment Services became the member of the European Employment Services – EURES. Labour offices carry out activities for EURES, especially, international employment agency along with advisory in the field of earning mobility on the European labour market. Having a little knowledge about unemployment, especially in the country that we are going to work, is useful for each of us. Sooner or later, we will have to think about it while looking for a job or changing it. When unemployment is low we have more chances to catch a good job, when not it is success when we catch any.
Unemployment is one of the most important economic and social problem in Poland because in recent years, the unemployment rate has been steadily rising. During communism the official unemployment level was less than 1%, but some economists estimated that the hidden unemployment in state-ruled companies was about 50%. That mean that typically two people were doing a job which could be done by one person. Because of political and economic transformation (from a centrally planned economic model, to a free market system) after 1989 unemployment start to rising rapidly.
In 1990 it was 6.1% and in 2002 already 20% (the highest unemployment rate historically). This unfavourable trend was reversed in 2004. The largest drop in unemployment, however, has been taking place since 2006, when the unemployment rate declined below 15%, reaching 9,5% in 2008 ( the lowest unemployment rate). This was due to the economic upward trend which produced more job offers and more active people. Because of financial crisis, in 2009, the unemployment rate increased to nearly 12% and to 12,8 in 2010.
According to the newest statistics Poland’s registered unemployment rate rose to 13.2 percent in February from 13 percent the previous month. Unfortunately, is also higher than year ago. Labour Minister Jolanta Fedak thinks that the numbers are not too disturbing, however. She said that „The rise in unemployment is seasonal. It’s difficult to judge now [if the trend will remain]. We need to wait until the spring to find out,” She also predict lower unemployment rate at the end of this year but everything will depend on Poland’s economic growth in 2011. As you can see in the chart seasonal unemployment is characteristic feature in polish unemployment. It is connected with fluctuations of the weather and seasons. For example, in winter there is a high unemployment especially in tourist industry, building industry or agriculture.
Unemployment in Poland is characterised by:
Geographical differentiation: A strong differentiation is observed in the unemployment rates for various parts of Poland, with the highest unemployment rate for a single region standing at more than twice the figure of the lowest. e.g. in the Warmińsko – Mazurskie voivodeship the unemployment rate in February 2011 was 21, 5 while in the voivodeship Mazowieckie – 10%. The highest unemployment rates are primarily seen in regions dominated by the agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries.
Unemployment rate by voivodships (at the end of February 2011). Selectivity: Polish unemployment is, first of all, is a problem of young people (below 35 years of age). According to Eurostat data 24,9% among unemployed people are young. It is because young people have often no experience on the job market, their qualifications are incompatible with employers demandings and they are not flexible enough. Difficulties with finding a job are also experienced by women and people over 50 years. People of this last group spent at least half of their life under the communist system so they are not well adjusted to the capitalist system. They are unwilling or they do not have a chance to re-educate and move from their home to the areas where more jobs are available.
Unemployment among young people in Europe
Period of unemployment: unemployment in Poland tends to be of a structural or long-term nature. As we can see in the chart there are 34% of unemployed who cannot find a job above 12 months. This in turn has an impact on the health and well being of large segments of society.
The forecasts predict that joblessness in Poland will stand at 9.9 per cent by the end of 2011, before steadily declining to 8.6 per cent by the end of 2012 and to 7,3 at the end of 2013.