Press release 24.6.2008

Employment and unemployment in May 2008

- Number of employed persons 55,000 higher than one year earlier
- Employment rate 71.3 per cent
- Unemployment rate 8.8 per cent, 247,000 unemployed
- 48,000 new vacancies at employment offices
- In the January to May period of 2008, average number of employed persons 55,000 higher than in the respective period of 2007

According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons in May was 2,554,000, or 55,000 higher than a year earlier. The number of wage and salary earners in continuing full-time employment increased by 0.9 percentage points to a total of 75.2 per cent. Employment improved most in the provinces of Western Finland and Oulu.

In May, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 71.3 per cent, which was 1.1 percentage points higher than one year before. The employment rate of men was 73.4 per cent and that of women 69.1 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal and random variation, the trend of the employment rate was 70.7 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 5/2007 - 5/2008, thousand persons

  May 2008 May 2007 CHANGE, %
5/07 - 5/08
 Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
 Employed, total 2 554 2 499 2.2
  - wage and salary earners 2 228 2 168 2.8
 - self-employed and assisting family members 325 331 -1.7
 Employment rate, % 71.3 70.2 1.12
 Unemployed1 247 232 6.5
 Unemployment rate, % 8.8 8.5 0.32
 Labour force, total 2 800 2 730 2.6
 Labour force participation rate, % 70.0 68.6 1.42
 Economically inactive 1 201 1 248 -3.8
       
 Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy
 Unemployed job seekers 184 202 -8.9
 - unemployed over a year 43 52 -17.4
 Employed with subsidised measures 38 43 -10.4
 In labour market training 29 32 -9.6
 In trainee and job alternation places 18 19 -4.8
 New vacancies at employment offices 48 47 2.4
 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 247,000 unemployed in May 2008, i.e. 15,000 more than in May of the year before. The annual change in unemployment is within the survey's margin of error.

The high number of unemployed in the Labour Force Survey in May is due especially to the fact that students have entered the labour market. In May 2008 over 80 per cent of the unemployed persons aged 15 to 24 were students. A good one-third of the young unemployed were waiting for an agreed job to start and could have started to work within two weeks. This group grew from the previous year.

At 8.8 per cent, the unemployment ratein May was 0.3 percentage points higher than one year earlier. The trend of the unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent in May. The unemployment rate was lowest in the Province of Southern Finland, at 7.9 per cent, and highest in the Province of Oulu, at 12.2 per cent. The trend of the unemployment rate of the 15 to 24-year-olds was 15.0 per cent in May. The trend has fallen clearly during the past two years.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the average number of employed persons in the January to May 2008 period was 2,495,000, which is 55,000 more than over the corresponding period in 2007. The number of unemployed persons was 188,000, which is 15,000 fewer than in the January to May period of 2007.

At the end of May 2008, there were altogether 184,000 persons registered, in accordance with the Unemployment Security Act and the Labour Exchange Office Regulations, as unemployed job seekers at the employment offices. The number of unemployed job seekers was 18,000 lower than in May 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 8,000 lower than in May of the year before, and stood at 3.1 per cent of the labour force. There were 18,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the employment offices. Their number was 1,000 lower than in last year's May. According the regulations of the Employment Service, full-time students are not included in the unemployed job seekers. During May, 48,000 new vacancies were reported to the employment offices, which is 1,000 more than in May 2007.

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 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. For example, the 95 per cent confidence interval, or the margin of error, for the May unemployment rate is about ± 0.6 percentage points. The confidence interval for the May number of unemployed is approximately ± 17,000 persons.

Inquiries:
Statistics Finland: Ms Heidi Melasniemi-Uutela +358 9 1734 2523, Mr Pekka Tossavainen +358 9 1734 3517, Mr Kalle Sinivuori +358 9 1734 3524. Information service/Labour Force Survey +358 9 1734 2030, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Labour Force Survey home page: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/index_en.html

Publication in pdf-format

Ministry of Employment and the Economy: Mr Petri Syvänen +358 10 60 48050
Internet:
http://www.tem.fi/employmentbulletin

Latest seasonally adjusted employment figures published by the EU

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