Despite having had a clear economic growth advantage over many other EU countries over the past two decades Austria now no longer has this edge, a labor market expert said Monday.
Speaking with the Oe1 Mittagsjournal radio program, Helmut Mahringer from the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) said this is reflected in the nation's continuously increasing unemployment rate, compounded by new jobless figures released Monday, that show Austria slipping further down the ranks in an EU comparison.
He said pension reforms and the immigration rate have led to a higher number of job seekers than newly-available jobs making the battle against unemployment more difficult. To this end payroll taxes should be reduced so that companies hire more new employees, the expert recommended.
Mahringer said government aid with integrating the unemployed back into the workforce has shown positive results, while the implementation of a bonus-malus system would also aid in bringing older persons back into the workforce.
The most recent Eurostat calculations have the Austrian unemployment rate at 6 percent, putting it at sixth-lowest in the union, after ranking lowest for an extended period of time.