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Press release 19.2.2008

Employment and unemployment in January 2008

- Number of employed persons 100,000 higher than one year earlier
- Employment rate 69.3 per cent
- Unemployment rate 6.8 per cent, 181,000 unemployed
- 68,000 new vacancies at employment offices

According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons in January was 2,480,000, or 100,000 higher than a year earlier. In the private employer sector the number of employed persons went up by 85,000. The number of wage and salary earners was 94,000 higher than one year previously. The number of employed persons went up in the provinces of Southern Finland, Western Finland and Oulu.

In January, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 69.3 per cent, which was 2.2 percentage points higher than one year before. The employment rate for men went up by 3 percentage points and was 70.7 per cent. The employment rate for women rose by 1.5 percentage points to 67.9 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal and random variation, the trend of the employment rate was 70.7 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 1/2007 - 1/2008, thousand persons

  January 2008 January 2007 CHANGE, %
1/07 - 1/08
Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
Employed, total 2 480 2 380 4.2
- wage and salary earners 2 171 2 077 4.5
- self-employed and assisting family members 310 303 2.3
Employment rate, % 69.3 67.1 2.22
Unemployed1 181 195 -7.4
Unemployment rate, % 6.8 7.6 -0.82
Labour force, total 2 661 2 575 3.3
Labour force participation rate, % 66.6 64.8 1.82
Economically inactive, total 1 332 1 397 -4.6
Labour Exchange Statistics of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Unemployed job seekers 219 244 -10.2
- unemployed over a year 47 58 -18.5
Employed with subsidised measures 34 40 -14.5
In labour market training 30 32 -6.8
In trainee and job alternation places 17 18 -7.1
New vacancies at employment offices 68 57 18.7
 Unrounded figures are used in the CHANGE column
 1Based on the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation
2percentage points

According to the Labour Force Survey, there were 181,000 unemployed in January 2008, i.e. 14,000 fewer than in January of the year before. At 6.8 per cent, the unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage points lower than one year before. The trend of the unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent in January.

The unemployment rate was lowest in the Province of Southern Finland, where it stood at 5.5 per cent, and highest, at 11.1 per cent, in the Province of Eastern Finland. In January 2008, the unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 was 17.7 per cent, which was one percentage point lower than in the previous year's January. The trend of the unemployment rate among young people was 16.1 per cent.

At the end of January 2008, there were altogether 219,000 persons registered, in accordance with the Unemployment Security Act and the Employment Office Regulations, as unemployed job seekers at the employment offices. The number of unemployed job seekers was 25,000 lower than in January 2007. 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 9,000 lower than in January of the year before, and was 3.0 per cent of the labour force. There were 23,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the employment offices. Their number was 3,000 lower than in last year's January. During this January, 68,000 new vacancies were reported to the employment offices, which is 11,000 more than in January 2007.

Labour Force Survey content and data collection have been revised

Revisions extending the Labour Force Survey's data content have been implemented in the beginning of 2008. The definitions of some concepts have also changed. The revisions are based on EU regulations and their aim is to improve the comparability of the Labour Force Surveys of different EU Member States.

Differences between the Labour Force Survey and the Employment Service Statistics

The employment situation is monitored monthly both with the sample-based Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland and with the register-based Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The Employment Service 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 Employment Service Statistics are based on legislation and administrative regulations.

The Labour Force Survey and the Employment Service 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 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 January unemployment rate, for example, the 95 per cent confidence interval or the margin of error is about ± 0.5 percentage points. In January, the confidence interval for the number of unemployed is approximately ± 15,000 persons.

Inquiries: Statistics Finland: Mr Kalle Sinivuori +358 9 1734 3524, Ms Heidi Melasniemi-Uutela +358 9 1734 2523, Mr Veli Rajaniemi +358 9) 1734 3434. Information service/Labour Force Survey +358 9 1734 2030,
Labour Force Survey home page:

Ministry of Employment and the Economy: Mr Petri Syvänen +358 10 60 48050, Internet:

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