RTTNews - Slovakia's gross domestic product or GDP at constant prices fell a revised 5.6% year-on-year in the first quarter, after a 2.5% rise in the fourth quarter, the country's Statistical Office said Wednesday. Initially, the GDP was reported to have fallen 5.4%.

At current prices, the GDP was down 6.1% in the first quarter, revised from a 5.9% fall reported earlier. For the whole year, the statistical office forecasts the GDP of the Eurozone member country to contract 3.5%. Slovakia adopted euro as currency from January 1 this year.

Among the sub components of the GDP, external demand decreased 24.3% in the first quarter. Domestic demand was down 4.6%, reflecting a 16.4% drop in production of gross capital and a 1.2% fall in consumption by households. However, consumption by the government rose 1.2%.

Separately, the statistical office said that the number of unemployed persons totaled 281,000 in the first quarter, an increase of 500 persons from the previous year. The jobless rate stood at 10.5% in the first quarter. However, the number of employed persons decreased by 3,100 from last year to 2.38 million in the first quarter. For the whole of 2009, the statistical office expects the jobless rate to be 11.2%.

Further, the statistical office said the average monthly real wages rose 1.6% year-on-year in the first quarter, while the nominal wages increased 4.7%.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Social and Economic Reforms or INEKO, a think-tank within the Slovak Republic, estimates the country's GDP to drop 4.3% in the present year compared to their earlier estimate of a 1% drop in March. However, the think-tank expects the GDP to grow 0.6% next year.

Moreover, the institute expects general government deficit to rise to 5.2% of GDP this year, higher than their initial estimate of a deficit of 4% of GDP in March. For next year, the think-tank forecast the government deficit to be 4.8% of GDP.

Regarding unemployment, the think-tank expects the unemployment rate to reach 13% by the end of this year and rise to 13.3% next year. However, by the end of 2011, the institute expects the jobless rate to drop to 12.2%.

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