In Business News this week: The Czech economy is passing through the lowest point of the recession, says the head of the central bank; the EC predicts the Czech economy will stagnate in 2013; CEZ and Czech Coal are reported to be close to a deal worth a whopping CZK 200 billion-plus; 40,000 Czech customers file a class action for the return of bank charges; and a fifth of Czech medicines are being resold in more expensive markets.
Doctors’ unions have called on hospital physicians to join a protest against the government’s health-care reform which is to be held on March 1, the unions’ chair Martin Engel said on Friday. The unions asked doctors to take care of their own health on that day, and to inform patients of the risks related to the reform. Only emergency cases should be treated during the protest. The Czech government has implemented a broad reform of the health care system including changes to the structure of hospitals and cuts to their budgets. Doctors also complain the Health Ministry has failed to raise their salaries as promised two years ago.
According to older methodology, unemployment figures reached their highest in January in the history of the independent Czech Republic. Older tabulation methods reveal more than 10 percent of people remained out of work in the first month of 2013. That translates as more than 580,000 people without jobs. Historically, former Czechoslovakia had a higher jobless rate during the 1930s, when some 740,000 people were out of work. Under the new methodology, the rate of unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to eight percent, up by 0.6 percentage points from the previous month. According to analysts, the worsening situation on the job market was expected due to the economic recession and decrease in hiring. At the end of last month there were approximately 33,800 open positions around the country.
Business news from the past week: ČNB released a new prognosis for GDP growth for 2013; Unemployment figures are up again in January; Russian and Chinese tourists boost profits for luxury items retailers in Prague; Russian bank Sberbank set to open Czech branches; ČEZ has filed international lawsuit against Albania; Fuel sale regulations bill passes through the first reading in the lower house.
The number of the unemployed in the Czech Republic reached a record high in January. Nearly 590,000 people were out of work last month, which is the highest number since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Compared to December, the unemployment rate jumped by 0.6 percent to 8 percent according to the latest government figures. But the jobless rate would exceed 10 percent if calculated using methodology employed by government statisticians until last year. I discussed the surge in unemployment with economist Daniel Münich from the Prague-based institute
At a conference co-organized by T-Mobile Czech Republic and the weekly magazine Respekt, representatives of top businesses in the country and those from the non-profit sector came together to discuss how businesses could help society. One of the main topics of discussion was how social responsibility strategies can go hand-in-hand with profitability.
A recent survey conducted by the LMC agency, which operates the website jobs.cz, has found that roughly half of Czech firms turn down job applicants with criminal records. The survey covered approached 151 different firms and the results following the presidential amnesty (which saw more than 6,000 inmates released in January) are far from encouraging.
The unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2012 reached 7.2 percent, which was 0.7 percent more than in the same period in the previous year, according to figures by the Czech Statistical Office released on Friday. The authorities registered some 380,000 jobless people in the last three months of 2012, which was 44,000 more year-on-year. The number of those unemployed for over a year rose as well, and they now account to over 42 percent of the total number of jobless people. Analysts say the fresh data confirm a negative trend of rising unemployment. Although companies are not laying off workers en masse, those who are made redundant are having trouble finding work.
In Business News this week: The Czech Ministry of Finance cuts its growth outlook for the year to almost zero; fresh figures show 7.2 percent of Czechs were jobless in Q4 2012; passenger numbers and flights were down at Prague airport last year; spas report a halving of business in just three months; and experts say luxury flats in Prague have maintained their value.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has until the end of June to correct mistakes made in the S-Card system, namely breaking the law on personal data protection, the Office for Personal Data Protection revealed on Wednesday. Either the system, which streamlines social benefits and welfare payments, would have to be shelved by the ministry or the current situation would have to be approved in the Chamber of Deputies, the head of the Office for Data Protection Igor Němec announced. The office head explained that the ministry broke the law by sharing client information with the bank Česká spořitelna which administers the S-Card system. The bureau has launched proceedings which could lead to the ministry being fined up to 10 million crowns. The prime minister, Petr Nečas, said in response that he had expected the tough stance by the bureau, stressing that the ministry would have to quickly prepare legislative changes. He is planning to meet with the minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Ludmila Mullerova of TOP 09, saying he expected her to have concrete plans on how to move forward.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
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Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
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