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This note presents selected findings for Latvia based on the set of well-being indicators published in How's Life? 2017.
Unemployment is still above 8% in Latvia and contributes to poverty, in part because many unemployed have been without a job for an extended period of time.
Latvia’s economy is growing strongly. Driven by the recovery of exports and investment as well as strong private consumption, real GDP growth is expected to strengthen from 2% in 2016 to around 4% this year and next.
Etude économique de la Lettonie 2017
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Unemployment in Latvia has been on a downward trajectory since it reached a record high of 20.4% at the height of the global financial crisis (Q1 2010). It is now 9.7%, but it remains above the OECD average of 6.2%.
As part of the STI Outlook 2016, the OECD has released policy profiles by country. These include cross-country analyses that draw on the first joint EC-OECD survey on STI policies. They focus on major STI policy areas, instruments and trends.
Latvia’s health system broadly delivers effective and efficient care to the population within a context of significantly fewer resources – and higher health care needs – than most OECD countries. Latvia has successfully consolidated its hospital sector and strengthened primary care. Average length of stay in hospital fell by almost 15% between 2005 and 2013, and GPs are now required to follow up on patients who called for emergency medical assistance but were not hospitalised. OECD health systems could learn much from these reforms as well as longer-standing institutions, such as Latvia’s feldshers (physician assistants). Latvia nevertheless faces important challenges to improve the performance of its health system. Up to one in five Latvians report forgoing health care because of the cost; waiting times for key diagnostic and treatment services can be long; and inclusion of key treatments in the publicly-funded benefits basket does not always reflect latest best practice. Critically, the health system lags behind many OECD countries in the extent to which data are used to systematically measure, compare and improve the performance of services, especially at more granular provider or local levels. This review aims to support Latvia in continuing reform of its health system, informed by international best practice.