Lithuania's unemployment rate edged up by 1.2 points to 12.1 percent over January, driven higher by the increasing supply of working age population.
The Lithuanian Labor Exchange said the unemployment rate was calculated in view of a new work force indicator provided by the Statistics Department after the assessment of data from the latest population census.
According to the previous indicator, the jobless rate stood at 11.3 percent in January, up by 0.4 points compared with December of 2002.
As of Feb. 1, 2002, the unemployment rate in Lithuania had reached 13.1 percent.
As of early February 2003, however, the number of officially registered unemployed people in the country of 3.5 million was 197,200, a 14 percent decline over the same period last year.
The Labor Exchange provided jobs to 10,100 people over one month, down by 2.3 percent year-on-year, and placed 11,300 people on active labor market schemes, up by 56 percent.
The highest unemployment rate was registered in Druskininkai (28.2 percent), Pasvalys (25.5 percent) and Mazeikiai (23.8 percent), while the lowest rate was recorded in Vilnius (6.1 percent), Trakai (6.9 percent) and Elektrenai (7.6 percent).
The highest unemployment level among Lithuania's major cities and towns was registered in Panevezys, at 15.2 percent.
In 2002, the average unemployment rate stood at 11.3 percent.
Vilniaus Bankas, Lithuania's leading bank, forecasts that the jobless rate will fall to 9.5 percent this year, while the Finance Ministry puts the figure at 11.4 percent.