Continuing the discussion regarding the unemployment situation in Ventspils, Latvijas fakti had performed a social survey last year. Results of this study show that 32% of residents of this city are concerned about the emergence of new jobs, adding that this is one of the main priorities for the city council.
Young people emphasized this problem the most. 39% of respondents aged 18 to 24 mentioned unemployment and lack of new jobs as one of the most topical problems in Ventspils. Residents aged 35 to 44 find this problem topical as well (38%). Every second respondent aged 55 to 64 is also concerned about the state of employment in Ventspils.
It is worth mentioning that Ventspils City Council representatives last week released an announcement to the media, stating that unemployment level in the city was 6.7% at the beginning of January. This is allegedly lower than the average unemployment level in the country. Then how is it possible that every third resident and every other age group representative views unemployment as one of the main problems in the city?
Reality in Ventspils is very different to what the city council readily reports. Residents, their friends and relatives face unemployment problems. The number of people in danger is sufficiently large to become a serious problem. Statistical information from state institutions like the State Employment Agency does not reflect the actual situation, as many Ventspils residents solve this problem by leaving the city in favour of working in Riga, Liepaja or abroad.
Gunars Vaskis of University of Latvia has studied the problem of unregistered unemployment in the country. He admits that unregistered unemployment is not actual unemployment. The registered unemployment level detailed in SEA data differs from the actual level as the registered number of speed limit violations in CSDD differs from the actual number of violations. The number of married couples differs from the number of registered marriages. SEA data points to the number of unemployed people registered in the institution’s Ventspils office. It does not reflect the actual situation in the city.
Residents interviewed on the streets of Ventspils also mentioned the problem of unemployment.
Sabine, a student who has been in search of a job for the past six months and has begun working as a pre-school educator, says: «I’ve never searched for a chance job. I wanted to find something that interests me. There is very little here that interests me. If I try looking for a job, say, in a kindergarten, I won’t find anything easily. If I don’t find anything in Ventspils, I may try my luck elsewhere. Perhaps in Riga.»
Another young Ventspils resident, Mihaels, has been in search of a job for two months. He says: «If I don’t find a job here, in Ventspils, I plan to travel abroad and try my luck there.»
Sandis, who returned from Austria not long ago, said he tried getting unemployment benefit in Ventspils. He was refused. Now he is forced to return to Austria to find a job there again. «My wife stays home and cares for our child. She had worked abroad in the past as well. My brother was forced to leave Ventspils in favour of searching for a job in Ireland.»
Oskars, about his sister’s work experience in Ventspils: «My sister worked in Ventspils. She then moved to Riga. She worked in Ventspils University College and Ventspils City Council but was offered a better job and better pay in Riga.»
Ligita, unemployed due to leg injury, about life in Latvia and Ventspils: «My children have all left because they couldn’t find jobs in Ventspils. I am alone here now. She tried, but couldn’t find decent jobs. So they left.»