Vienna – The number of unemployed people in Austria reached a record 563,000 at the end of March as the novel coronavirus pandemic took its toll, the Labour Market Agency said on Wednesday.
This is the highest jobless figure the country has seen since the aftermath of World War II in 1946, when 439,000 people were without work.
Since a coronavirus lockdown took effect in mid-March, people were mostly laid off in the tourism, construction, retail and temporary work sectors.
Nearly 200,000 people lost their jobs in the second half on March, pushing Austria’s jobless rate to 12.2 per cent, according to the national unemployment calculation method, which does not include the self-employed labour market.
According to the EU counting method, Austria has an unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent.
In addition to the lay-offs, Austrian companies have shortened working hours for 250,000 employees, Labour Minister Christine Aschbacher told a news conference.