Chancellor plans new stimulus package as jobless rate soars

By Thomas HochwarterSPÖ Chancellor Werner Faymann has announced
plans for a new economy stimulus package as figures show unemployment
soared almost 20 per cent year on year last month.The Social
Democrat said today (Tues) he wanted to introduce a third stimulus
package, adding he had “many plans” to help people to “gain better
qualifications”.Faymann claimed two thirds of unemployed people
taking courses offered for further qualification or qualification in
other fields over the past few months have found a new job.But he refused to give any more details, saying he first needed to hold talks with SPÖ Labour Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer.The
Chancellor is expected to reveal details in his speech to be held at
Vienna’s Hofburg Palace tomorrow to mark one year since the SPÖ-ÖVP
government was sworn in.But Faymann may be confronted with
opposition to the plans from coalition partner, the People’s Party
(ÖVP). ÖVP Finance Minister Josef Pröll recently claimed the
government’s two stimulus packages were successful and that a third
package was unnecessary.Economic experts and think tanks
recently appealed to Pröll to reveal his plans to reduce state debt
after Austria appeared to be over the worst of the crisis.ÖVP
Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said yesterday there was “no
need” for a third package to boost the economy. Mitterlehner said the
effects of the recently agreed packages on the labour market and the
economy were being felt. The minister suggested every ministry could
“adapt” existing measures, but he ruled out a new major package in need
of a new budget agreement.But the Greens and Labour Chamber (AK) president Herbert Tumpel backed plans for a third stimulus package.SPÖ
Chancellor Faymann said today he “regretted” the high unemployment
numbers, but stressed Austria had the second-lowest jobless rate in the
European Union (EU). Faymann claimed many “horror scenarios” put
forward by economic researchers had failed to materialise.Statistik
Austria announced today unemployment in Austria has risen by 19.9 per
cent year on year in November compared to the same month in 2008. The
state agency said 336,527 people living in Austria were without a job.It
added the 257,745 people taking education courses offered by the Labour
Market Service (AMS) was already included in the figure.Meanwhile the number of job vacancies in Austria shrunk by 12.9 per cent to 24,646 year on year last month, it was announced.Statistik
Austria said men were badly affected as 17.4 per cent more men than in
November 2008 were without a job, adding there had been an increase of
34.9 per cent in the number of both male and female jobless in the
industrial sector.The number of young people seeking traineeships meanwhile fell 4.5 per cent to 5,803.Of
all provinces, Upper Austria suffered the highest year on year
increases in unemployment (31.1 per cent), followed by Vorarlberg which
saw the jobless rate soar 25.5 per cent.AMS chief Johannes Kopf
warned the figures would not decrease. Kopf claimed there would be
another 50,000 people without employment between this and next year.And the Labour Market Service head launched an attack on jobless people.”People
who lost their job in the economic crisis need to be more flexible,”
Kopf said, claiming Austrians would need to commute further for work.Kopf added many young people would not find work since they invested too little time in choosing a job which suited them.EU
officials meanwhile announced the unemployment rate in Eurozone, the 16
EU states with the Euro as currency, remained at 9.8 per cent in
October – the same level as the previous month.The Netherlands have the lowest rate of unemployment with 3.7 per cent, followed by Austria (4.7 per cent).