Press release 25.4.2006

Employment and unemployment in March 2006

- Number of employed persons 30,000 higher than one year ago
- Employment rate 67.6 per cent
- Rate of unemployment 8,1 per cent, 211,000 unemployed
- 50,000 new vacancies at labour exchange offices
- 44,000 more employed in the first quarter of 2006 than one year earlier

According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons was 2,395,000 in March, or 30,000 higher than one year previously. The number of wage earners went up while that of self-employed persons remained almost unchanged. Jobs increased most in the Provinces of Western Finland and Oulu.

In March, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 67.6 per cent, which is 0.5 percentage points higher than twelve months before. The employment rate of men rose by 0.9 percentage points to 68.7 per cent and that of women by 0.2 percentage points to 66.5 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the employment rate went up to 68.8 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 3/2005 - 3/2006, thousand persons

  March 2006 March 2005 Change, %
3/05 - 3/06
 Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
 Employed total 2 395 2 365 1.3
 - wage and salary earners 2 095 2 062 1.6
 - self-employed and assisting family members 300 302 -0.8
 Employment rate, % 67.6 67.1 0.52
 Unemployed1 211 219 -3.3
 Unemployment rate, % 8.1 8.5 -0.4 2
 Labour force, total 2 607 2 584 0.9
 Labour force participation rate, % 65.9 65.5 0.4 2
 Economically inactive, total 1 351 1 360 -0.6
 - students 355 361 -1.6
 - persons performing domestic work 102 89 14.3
 Economically inactive persons in disguised
unemployment
76 81 -6.7
 
 Ministry of Labour's Labour Exchange Statistics:
 Unemployed job seekers 258 278 -7.2
 - unemployed over a year 68 74 -7.4
 Employed with subsidised measures 37 39 -5.0
 In labour market training 34 35 -3.6
 In trainee and job alternation places 19 18 4.1
 New vacancies at labour exchange offices 50 41 20.2
 Unrounded figures are used in the CHANGE column
  1 Based on the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
percentage points

According to the Labour Force Survey, there were 211,000 unemployed in March, or 7,000 fewer than one year previously. The rate of unemployment was 8.1 per cent, having been 8.5 per cent twelve months earlier. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the unemployment rate in March was 7.9 per cent.

The unemployment rate of men fell by 0.9 percentage points to 8.1 per cent while that of women rose by 0.2 per cent and also stood at 8.1 per cent. The unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 was 19.2 per cent. The rate of unemployment was lowest in the Province of Southern Finland, 6.7 per cent, and highest in the Province of Lapland at 15.8 per cent.

According to the Labour Force survey, the average number of employed persons in the first quarter of 2006 was 2,381,000, or 44,000 higher than in the same quarter of the year before. Employment only went up in the private sector. The proportion of self-employed persons among the employed labour force went up slightly. During the first quarter, jobs increased in the industry groups of metal and other manufacturing, business services and social services. Examined by province, employment continued to develop favourably in Western, Southern and Eastern Finland. The number of unemployed persons was 219,000, which is 16,000 lower than in the first quarter of 2005.

At the end of March 2006, there were altogether 258,000 persons registered, in accordance with the Unemployment Security Act and the Labour Exchange Office Regulations, as unemployed job seekers at the labour exchange offices. The number of unemployed job seekers was 20,000 lower than in March 2005. Unemployment fell from the previous year in the areas of all Employment and Economic Development Centres. The number of those covered by employment policy measures was 2,000 lower than in March 2005, being 3.4 per cent of the labour force. There were 25,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the labour exchange offices. Their number was 3,000 lower than in March 2005. During this March, 50,000 new vacancies were reported to the labour exchange offices, which is 8,000 more than in last year's March.

Differences between the Labour Force Survey and the Labour Exchange Statistics

The employment situation is monitored monthly both with the sample-based Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland and with the register-based Labour Exchange Statistics of the Ministry of Labour. The Labour Exchange Statistics describe the situation on the last weekday of the month. The data for the Labour Force Survey are collected for every week of the month.

The Labour Force Survey follows the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the practices required by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. According to them, a person is classified as unemployed if he or she is aged 15 or over, does not have a job, has actively sought employment in the past four weeks and would be available for work within two weeks. The Labour Exchange Statistics are based on legislation and administrative regulations.

The Labour Force Survey and the Labour Exchange Statistics apply two basically different statistical criteria to how actively a person seeks work and makes him/herself available on the labour market. Due to the statistical differences, the number of unemployed job seekers may not agree with the number of unemployed calculated in accordance with the ILO recommendations.

Since the Labour Force Survey is a sample survey, its data allow for random variation. In respect of the unemployment rate, for example, the 95 per cent confidence interval or the margin of error is about ± 0.6 percentage points. The confidence interval for the number of unemployed is approximately ± 16,000 persons.

Inquiries:
Statistics Finland: Mr Veli Rajaniemi +358 9 1734 3434, Mr Juha Martikainen +358 9 1734 3225,
Ms Heidi Melasniemi-Uutela +358 9 1734 2523;
Email: tyovoima.tilastokeskus@stat.fi; Internet: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/index_en.html

Ministry of Labour: Mr Oiva Lönnberg +358 10 60 48048; Internet: http://www.mol.fi/employmentbulletin

Latest seasonally adjusted unemployment figures published by the EU