The unemployment rate in Poland at the end of December 2012 stood at 13.3 percent compared to 12.5 percent a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Labor. And while the government's budget assumptions put the jobless rate at 13 percent by the end of 2013, experts are less optimistic.
Monika Zakrzewska, an expert at Lewiatan, an employers association, said in a press statement that Poland will probably end 2013 with a higher unemployment rate than 13.3 percent.
"The first months of this year will most certainly bring a further deterioration on the labor market and a rise in unemployment. Even before the end of the previous year many companies, such as Fiat, Avon, Siemens, announced plans for group layoffs in 2013," Ms Zakrzewska said.
These negative trends, however, should be reversed in the second half of 2013, she said. This will be thanks to new work-time laws and an anti-crisis package intended to attract more foreign investment.
Over 14 percent unemployment?
Meanwhile, Grzegorz Maliszewski, chief economist at Bank Millennium, told WBJ that the unemployment rate will surpass 14 percent in January 2013 and will be at least that high at the end of the year.
"A change in the negative trend is possible in the second half of the year at the earliest," said Mr Maliszewski, adding that improvement may be fueled by the launch of projects financed from the state-funded "Polish Investments" program.
Przemysław Kwiecień, chief economist at X-Trade Brokers, also expects the unemployment rate in 2013 to reach higher than 14 percent, as both the seasonal and economic cycles are contributing to its increase.
"It is possible that in early spring, the unemployment rate will be over 14 percent," Mr Kwiecień said, adding that if the Polish economy grows slower than its potential, unemployment will surely rise. This means that a rise in employment figures may only be expected some time after Poland's economy starts moving faster again, possibly in 2014.
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