2 Employment and unemployment in 2018

2.1 Employment grew briskly in 2018

The number of employed persons increased in the private sector

According to the Labour Force Survey, the employment rate for the population aged 15 to 64 was 71.7 per cent in 2018. The employment rate grew by 2.1 percentage points from 2017. Men’s employment rate was 72.7 per cent and women’s 70.6 per cent. Men's employment rate grew by 2.0 percentage points and women's by 2.1 percentage points from 2017. (Figure 1.)

According to the established practice, the employment rate is reported in the Labour Force Survey as a percentage of the population aged 15 to 64. The data of the annual publication of the Labour Force Survey concern the population aged 15 to 74, unless otherwise indicated.

Figure 1. Employment rates by sex in 1994 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 64, %

Figure 1. Employment rates by sex in 1994 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 64, %

The employment rate of persons aged 15 to 74 was 61.6 per cent and among persons aged 20 to 64 it was 76.1 per cent in 2018. Employment rates with different age group divisions are available in the Labour Force Survey's database table: 001 Population by labour force status, sex and age

In 2018, the number of employed persons aged 15 to 74 in Finland was 2,540,000, which is 67,000 higher than in the year before. Employment increased for the third year in succession (Figure 2). The number of employed persons increased in all quarters compared to the corresponding periods of the previous year, most in the second quarter.

Figure 2. Number of employed persons by sex in 1994 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 2. Number of employed persons by sex in 1994 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Both men's and women's employment grew

In 2018, the number of employed men aged 15 to 74 was 35,000 higher and that of women 32,000 higher than in 2017. Women's employment grew for the second year in a row, the growth in men's employment continued for the third year (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 3. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

The employment rate went up in all age groups in 2018 from the previous year (Figure 4). The employment rate rose most from the previous year among persons aged 55 to 64 and those aged 35 to 44. The employment rate was still highest, 85.5 per cent, in the 45 to 54 age group.

Figure 4. Employment rates by age group in 1994 to 2018, %

Figure 4. Employment rates by age group in 1994 to 2018, %

Number of employed persons increased in human health and social work activities, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade and decreased in financing and insurance activities

The number of employed persons grew in most industries in 2018. The industry of human health and social work activities (Q) grew by 13,000 employed persons, while in the previous year it decreased by 5,000. The industries of manufacturing (C) and wholesale and retail trade (G) both grew by 11,000 employed persons. The number of employed persons also increased in the industry of transportation and storage (H) and agriculture, forestry and fishing and mining and quarrying (A, B).

The number of employed persons continued growing in the industry of construction (F) by 11,000 and in information and communications activities (J) by 9,000. Business services (M, N) gained 8,000 more employed persons, almost all of them in the industry of professional, scientific and technical activities (M). In education (P) the growth continued by 3,000 employed persons from the previous year.

The number of employed persons decreased from the previous year in the industry of financial and insurance activities and real estate activities (K, L) by 4,000 persons. The number of employed persons also declined in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, water supply and sewerage (D, E) by 4,000 persons.

Figure 5 shows the change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by industry in 2017 and 2018.

Figure 5. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by industry in 2017 and 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 5. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by industry in 2017 and 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

More employees and self-employed without employees

Employment grew in the private sector by 68,000 employed persons in 2018. The number of the employed was unchanged in the public sector.

In 2018, the average number of employees was 2,204 000, which is 57,000 more than in the previous year. In 2018, the number of self-employed persons and unpaid family workers was 335,000, of which 11,000 were unpaid family workers. The number of self-employed and unpaid family workers grew by 10,000, their share of employed persons being the same as in the previous year, 13 per cent.

In 2018, there were 91,000 self-employed employers which is 6,000 fewer than in the year before. The gender distribution of self-employed employers remained more or less the same: nearly one-quarter of them were women, three quarters men. Self-employed without employees numbered 233,000, of whom 148,000 were men and 86,000 women. The number of self-employed without employees grew by 15,000 persons from the previous year.

Examined by socio-economic group, the number of upper-level employees grew by 25,000 persons, 10,000 of whom were men and 15,000 women. The number of lower-level employees increased by 12,000 men and by 10,000 women. The number of persons in manual worker occupations grew in 2018 from the previous year by 10,000 persons, almost all of whom were men.

Examined by sex, the socio-economic structure of employees has remained fairly similar in recent years: still over one-half of women, 54 per cent, worked as lower-level employees, nearly one fifth in manual worker occupations and good one quarter as upper-level employees. Forty-four per cent of men were in manual worker occupations, one quarter as lower-level employees and nearly one third as upper-level employees.

Number of hours worked grew

In 2018, hours worked in the national economy as a whole numbered 4.1 billion, which is slightly more than in the year before. In 2018, the average annual number of hours actually worked per employed person was 1,627 hours, whereas in 2017 the respective figure was 1,634 hours. In 2018, the number of underemployed persons was, on average, 140,000, which is 3,000 more than in 2017. Underemployed persons refer to persons who would like to do more work, but have to work part-time or a shortened working week or who do not have work due to a low number of orders, shortage of customers or due to being temporarily laid off.

Sixty-three per cent of underemployed were women and 37 per cent men.

2.2 Number of both unemployed persons and persons in disguised unemployment decreased in 2018

The decrease in unemployment continued in 2018, when the average number of unemployed persons was 202,000. The number of unemployed men was 106,000 and that of women 96,000.

The unemployment rate among persons aged 15 to 74 was, on average, 7.4 per cent in 2018, having been 8.6 per cent in 2017. The unemployment rate of men fell to 7.4 per cent and that of women to 7.3 per cent.

Besides unemployed persons, there were 128,000 persons aged 15 to 74 defined as being in disguised unemployment, who would and could have accepted work, but had not looked for it actively. The number of persons in disguised unemployment decreased by 15,000 compared with 2017 (Figure 6). More about persons in disguised unemployment in Section 4 Inactive population.

Figure 6. Unemployed persons and persons in disguised unemployment in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 6. Unemployed persons and persons in disguised unemployment in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

In 2018, the unemployment rate fell in all under 65 age groups, most in the 15 to 24 age group (Figure 7). The unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24, that is, the share of the unemployed among the labour force, stood at 17.0 per cent, which is 3.1 percentage points lower than one year previously. In all, 54,000 young people aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in 2018, which is 27 per cent of all unemployed persons. In the previous year, the number of unemployed persons in this age group was 66,000, which is 28 per cent of all unemployed persons.

The share of unemployed persons aged 15 to 24 in the population of the same age was 8.8 per cent in 2018 (Figure 8), having been 10.4 per cent in 2017.

Figure 7. Unemployment rates by age group in 1994 to 2018, %

Figure 7. Unemployment rates by age group in 1994 to 2018, %

Figure 8. Shares of employed and unemployed persons, and the inactive population in the age group in 2018, %

Figure 8. Shares of employed and unemployed persons, and the inactive population in the age group in 2018, %

2.3 Growth in the labour force continued

In all, 4,124,000 of Finland's population were aged 15 to 74 in 2018, which is 10,000 more than in 2017. At the same time, the number of population aged 15 to 64 decreased by 12,000. The number of population grew most in the 65 to 74 age group, in total by 23,000 from the previous year. The 55 to 64 age group still remained the biggest, even though it diminished by 3,000 persons from the year before. (Figure 9.)

The number of persons aged 15 to 74 in the active population, i.e. the employed and unemployed, grew by 35,000 from 2017. The share of the active population aged 15 to 74, increased from 65.8 per cent in 2017 to 66.5 per cent in 2018.

In 2018, the number of persons aged 15 to 74 in the inactive population was 1,382,000, which is 24,000 fewer than in 2017. More about persons in the inactive population in Section 4 Inactive population.

Figure 9. Population of working age and active population by age group in 2018

Figure 9. Population of working age and active population by age group in 2018

2.4 Number of new employment contracts of under one year's duration increased in 2018

Temporary employment still more widespread among women than men

In 2018, the average number of employees in Finland was 2,204,000, which is 57,000 higher than in 2017. In all, 363,000 employees had temporary employment contracts, 216,000 of whom were women and 147,000 men (Figure 10). The number of temporary employees grew by 18,000 from the year before.

Figure 10. Number of temporary employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 10. Number of temporary employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Eighty-four per cent of employees’ all employment contracts were permanent and 16 per cent temporary in 2018. Temporary employment relationships are more common for women than for men. Nineteen per cent of female employees and 13 per cent of male employees worked in a temporary employment relationship in 2018. Compared to the year before, the shares have remained almost unchanged. (Figure 11.)

Figure 11. Share of temporary employees of all employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Figure 11. Share of temporary employees of all employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Two-thirds of temporary employees would want a permanent job

In 2018, there were 363,000 employees in a temporary job, 237,000 of whom would have wanted to have a permanent job. Of them, 148,000 were women and 88,000 men. Lack of permanent work was the reason why 65 per cent of all temporary employees worked in temporary jobs.

Twenty-seven per cent of temporary employees did not want a permanent job. The majority of them were aged under 25, typically summer workers. However, 44 per cent of temporary employees aged under 25 would have wanted a permanent job.

Lack of permanent work was most common for temporary employees aged 35 to 44. Eighty-three per cent of persons of this age named lack of permanent work as the reason for temporary work. Other reasons for temporary work were trial period, apprenticeship training and work practice.

Slightly more than one-half of new employment contracts temporary, more often for women than men

In 2018, there were 500,000 employees whose employment relationship had lasted less than a year, which was 39,000 more than in 2017. (Figure 12.)

Figure 12. Employees with employment contracts of under one year's duration in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 12. Employees with employment contracts of under one year's duration in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Fifty-one per cent of the employment contracts of under one year's duration were temporary, while the corresponding share was 52 per cent in 2017. There was still a clear difference between women and men in whether a new employment relationship was temporary or permanent. Forty-four per cent of men’s and 57 per cent of women’s new employment relationships were temporary in 2018. In the previous year, 45 per cent of men’s and 59 per cent of women's new employment relationships were temporary.

Two per cent of employees did temporary agency work

Temporary agency work refers to an employment relationship in which an employee works via an enterprise which provides or hires out labour force. Temporary agency workers made up two per cent of all employees in 2018.

In 2018, the average number of persons doing temporary agency work was 43,000, which is slightly more than in 2017. The number of men in temporary agency work was 23,000 and that of women 20,000. The number of persons in temporary agency work has grown since 2014 somewhat yearly, but temporary agency work is still a fairly marginal form of working on the Finnish labour market.

Temporary agency workers are employed by several industries. It is most common in wholesale and retail trade (G), manufacturing and electricity, gas, steam, air conditioning and water supply (C to E), construction (F), and accommodation and food service activities (I). Compared to 2017, temporary agency work increased slightly in construction.

2.5 Number of part-time workers grew

More than one-fifth of female employees worked part-time, one-tenth of men

In 2018, altogether 424,000 employed worked part-time, which was 17 per cent of all employed persons. There were 15,000 more employed persons working part-time than in 2017. The number of employees working part-time was 344,000, which was 13,000 more than in the previous year. The Labour Force Survey data on part-time employment are based on the respondents’ own reporting. Next we examine only employees among those working part-time.

Part-time employment was more widespread among women than men. In 2018, twenty-one per cent of female employees worked part-time, or 235,000 persons and 10 per cent of male employees, 110,000. For both sexes the shares of persons working part-time of employees remained the same as in 2017. (Figures 13 and 14.)

Working part-time is more common for younger employees and particularly for the oldest employees. Forty-one per cent of employees aged 15 to 24 worked part-time in 2018, primarily due to studies. In all, 66 per cent of employees aged 65 to 74 worked part-time.

Approximately three-quarters of part-time employees worked in the private sector. Part-time work was most common in the industries of wholesale and retail trade (G) and human health and social work activities (Q). The share of part-time employees of all employees in the industry was the largest, or 42 per cent, in retail trade (excl. motor vehicle trade).

Figure 13. Part-time employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 13. Part-time employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 14. Share of part-time employees among employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Figure 14. Share of part-time employees among employees by sex in 2004 to 2018, persons aged 15 to 74, %

Nearly one-third of persons working part-time would like full-time work 

Working part-time suits the life situation of many of those who are employed part-time. Of part-time workers underemployed are those who work part-time because full-time work is not available.

In 2018, there were 106,000 such part-time employees who would have wanted a full-time job. Of them, 75,000 were women and 31,000 were men. Lack of full-time work was the most common reason for working part-time for female employees. Nearly every third woman working part-time reported this reason. For men, the most common reason for part-time work was studying, which was given by good one-third of part-time working men.

Other reported reasons related to life situation were caring for children or relatives, and health reasons. Still nearly all of those who reported caring for children or relatives as the reason for working part-time were women. Nearly two-thirds of young people aged 15 to 24 reported studying as the reason for part-time work.

2.6 Different forms of working among the employed

Permanent full-time paid work was still clearly the most common form of working among persons aged 15 to 74. In 2018, altogether 63 per cent of all employed persons aged 15 to 74 were employees in full-time paid work based on an employment contract valid until further notice. Figure 15 describes different forms and numbers of paid work grouped into most commonly monitored forms of working. (Figure 15.)

Figure 15. Different forms of working among employed persons aged 15 to 74 in 2018

Figure 15. Different forms of working among employed persons aged 15 to 74 in 2018

One-tenth of employed persons aged 15 to 74 had a full-time job in a temporary employment relationship as an employee. Good four per cent of employed persons worked part-time as a temporary employee. From the previous year, their number grew by 10,000 persons, the majority, nearly 9,000, being women. Nine per cent of employed persons were part-time employees on an employment contract valid until further notice.

The share of persons working as self-employed without employees, own-account workers, freelancers and grant recipients (excl. agriculture and forestry) among all employed persons aged 15 to 74 was slightly over seven per cent in 2018. The number of self-employed without employees grew by close on 12,000 persons from the year before. The number of men self-employed without employees was 108,000 and that of women 74,000. There were 83,000 self-employed employers (excl. agriculture, forestry and fishing), of whom 63,000 were men. (Table 1.)

In 2018, there were 59,000 self-employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing which is somewhat more than in the year before.

Table 1. Different forms of working among persons aged 15 to 74 by sex in 2018, percentage share of all employed persons

  Males Females Both sexes
Permanent full-time paid work 66,5 59,9 63,3
Permanent part-time paid work 5,5 13,2 9,2
Temporary full-time paid work 8,3 11,7 9,9
Temporary part-time paid work 2,9 5,9 4,3
Self-employed in agriculture,forestry and fishing 3,4 1,1 2,3
Self-employed employers (excl. self-employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing) 4,8 1,6 3,3
Self-employed without employees, own-account workers, freelancers, grant recipients, excl. self-employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing 8,2 6,1 7,2
Unpaid family worker in an enterprise / farm 0,5 0,4 0,4

Source: Labour Force Survey 2018. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Ulla Hannula 029 551 2924, Tatu Leskinen 029 551 3285, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 11.4.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. Time series data 2009-2018 2018, 2 Employment and unemployment in 2018 . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.11.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/2018/13/tyti_2018_13_2019-04-11_kat_002_en.html