The Lithuanian Statistics Department released figures last week showing that the country's average unemployment level fell in 2002 by 3.6 percentage points to 13.8 percent.
The report is based on a 2002 employment survey in which the statistics department polled 42,000 people aged over 15.
The Lithuanian Labor Exchange also released data - based on the number of registered unemployed persons - showing that Lithuania's average jobless rate fell by 1.2 points in 2002 and reached 11.3 percent.
In 2002, Lithuania's total employed population grew by 4 percent - or 54,000 people - to 1.4 million, while the number of unemployed people declined by 21 percent - or 60,000 people - to 224,000, according to the statistics department.
The labor exchange's data showed that there were 191,200 registered unemployed persons in Lithuania as of Jan. 1, 2003.
The statisticians said that the unemployment rate among people aged 15 - 24 fell from 31 percent to 23 percent last year. Men's unemployment rate declined from 19.9 percent to 14.6 percent over the year, while the jobless rate among women was down from 14.7 percent to 12.9 percent.
Last year the unemployment rates in urban and rural areas declined - from 18.6 percent to 15.4 percent and from 14.4 percent to 9.7 percent, respectively.
The labor exchange forecasts that the country's jobless rate will decline to around 9 percent by mid-2003. The average annual unemployment level is expected to reach 10.5 percent to 11 percent this year, while the average number of people out of job should fall to about 175,000.