Labor shortage becomes main worry of Czech firms amid lowest EU unemployment

DAILY SABAH WITH REUTERS
ISTANBUL
Published 24.10.2017 12:13

A labor shortage is the biggest barrier to growth for Czech firms, a monthly survey showed Tuesday, marking the first time in almost a decade that a lack of workers is manufacturers' main concern.

Staffing difficulties topped worries over insufficient demand or lack of materials in the Czech Statistics Office's regular survey, which showed an overall rise in industry confidence to its highest since 2011.

The Czech export-oriented economy has soared, growing 4.7 percent year-on-year in the second quarter.

Its 2.9 percent unemployment rate is also the lowest in the European Union, driving up wages at the fastest pace in a decade as companies compete for workers.

In the regular survey, 29 percent of companies listed staffing as the biggest constraint to business growth, followed by 28 percent that said demand was a concern. The last time staffing was the main concern was in January 2008, the statistics office said.

Though labor shortage and demand are the main worries of Czech businesses, the government, along with Hungary and Poland, maintains a strict policy against migration, at a time when fellow EU members have been overwhelmed with a massive influx of refugees in the last two years.

Prague has been subject to criticism and legal action from Brussels for failing to take in asylum-seekers, despite the bloc's plan to relocate migrants from Greece and Italy.

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