Hanoi 's unemployment rate has nearly doubled in the last two years and is forecast to be even higher this year.

According to the General Statistics Office, the capital's unemployment rate reached 4.3 percent in 2011, rising over the previous year's figure of 2.2 percent.

Specifically, the unemployment rate increased from 3.1 percent to 6.7 percent within the urban population of about 2.9 million people, 3.2 percent higher than the 2010 figure.

Records show that about 3.6 million people in the capital were employed last year, accounting for 70 percent of its working-age population.

Jobs were created for about 138,800 people during the period.

Director of the Hanoi Employment Placement Centre Vu Trung Chinh said that about 16,000 unemployed people registered at the centre last year, four times more than in 2010.

"The actual unemployment figure is probably larger and likely to rise this year," he said.

Economic slowdown and increasing unemployment, especially among firms which produced goods for export, had badly affected the city's labour market, he said.

However, enterprises also had difficulty finding employees who met their needs, Chinh said, adding that graduates from vocational schools were preferred.

Last year, about 90,000 job seekers attended job fairs held by the centre and enterprises offered nearly 70,000 job opportunities but only a quarter of the positions were filled by qualified candidates.

Graduates from vocational schools met only 18.6 percent of enterprises' demands while graduates from universities, especially law and economic universities, exceeded demand.

The General Statistics Office announced a national unemployment rate of 2.27 percent last year, with the percentage reaching 3.6 percent in urban areas and 1.71 percent in rural areas. In 2010 the numbers were 2.88 percent, 4.29 percent and 2.30 percent, respectively

More than 51 million people are currently at working age in the country. /.