RIGA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Unemployment in Latvia rose by 1.8 percentage points to 8.1 percent in 2020 as the Baltic country was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the national statistics office said on Wednesday.
Latvia's jobless population grew by 28.4 percent from 2019, official data showed. Unemployment in Latvia's female population remained lower, at 7.1 percent, than in the male population (9.1 percent).
Latvia's youth unemployment rose to 14.9 percent in 2020, with young people aged 15 to 24 making up 11.2 percent of the entire jobless population.
Meanwhile, Latvia's employment rate declined by 0.8 percentage points from a year before to 64.2 percent in 2020.
According to the statistics office, employment fell at the fastest rate in wholesale and retail trade, repairs of motor vehicles, transport and warehousing, as well as construction.
Commenting on the latest employment statistics, the Finance Ministry said that the 1.8-percentage-point rise in unemployment last year could be considered moderate, given the circumstances.
The ministry indicated that the situation in the labor market remained relatively stable thanks to a successful overcoming of the first COVID-19 wave, which inflicted significantly smaller damage on the economy than initially expected, as well as various support mechanisms like wage subsidies and downtime benefits which helped many people to stay in the labor market.
The Finance Ministry also expects the unemployment rate to climb to 8.3 percent this year before it starts to drop steadily in 2022. Enditem