Employment: documentation of statistics
Basic data of the statistics
Employment statistics are annual statistics providing data by region on the population’s economic activity and employment. The population for the statistics is the permanently resident population in the country on the last day of the year. The data are mainly derived from administrative registers and statistical data files. The unit-specific data of the employment statistics are confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act. Data can be compiled by all regional divisions based on municipalities and co-ordinates and by postal code area.
Unit of measure
Data on occupation and socio-economic group are available for the years 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2000 and annually starting from 2004. In addition, there is a 10 per cent sample of the 1950 population census, which contains data on occupations.
The data of the statistics on main type of activity and status in occupation are first released as preliminary and later as final.
Frequency of dissemination
Accuracy, reliability and timeliness
In Finland, the reliability of register-based data was studied even before the decision was made about the transition to a register-based population census system. In the 1980 and 1985 census data describing the population's economic activity and employment were still collected with questionnaires, but register-based data were also available at the same time. In the 1980 census a comparative survey was made for 20 municipalities and in the 1985 census for all municipalities. The survey compared register-based data on the population's main type of activity and status in occupation with data collected with questionnaires. The differences in data produced on the basis of registers and questionnaires were found to be so small that the decision to move to register-based statistics production could be made.
An extensive reliability study was conducted in 1990 in connection with the first entirely register-based population census. The register statistics were compared with the data provided by the sample-based questionnaire inquiry. The sample comprised around two per cent of buildings, dwellings and persons. The reliability study showed how large a share of the questionnaire data and register data differed from each other but not ultimately which data were correct. For example, a person with several jobs reported a different job as the main job in the questionnaire inquiry than the one inferred from the register. A working student was inevitably defined as employed based on register data even if he/she had not reported his/her job. Studies have shown that the difference between register-based and questionnaire-based data is not greater than the difference between two questionnaire-based data. Comparative studies have been published in Statistics Finland's series.
The use of the Labour Force Survey as comparison data has become the most important quality control method for the register-based employment statistics. The reliability studies of the 1995 and 2000 censuses were also based on the use of the Labour Force Survey as comparison data.
The use of the Labour Force Survey as comparison data works on two levels. On the one hand, the aim is to monitor the level of the results produced by these two methods and on the other hand, how well the methods produce data classified in the same manner at unit level. Unit-level comparisons are made by cross-tabulating register-based and interview-based data on main type of activity and industry from the same time for persons in the sample data of the Labour Force Survey. Comparisons have been made since 1987.
The deviations can often be explained by differences between the register system and the interview method, and it cannot always be unambiguously said which method produces the right result, that is, even the data obtained with the interviews are not necessarily absolutely correct. Often in reality the person or the interviewer has to make a decision based on conflicting information, while an unequivocal rule has been compiled in the register method. The advantage of the register method is then its logicality: the machine always makes the decision in the same way, but persons with the same information can end up with different results.
From 1993 onwards, preliminary data have also been produced on employment. When using these preliminary data it should be borne in mind that due to the incompleteness of the data the number of employed persons in the preliminary data deviated until 2005 by ±1 per cent from the final figures for the whole country. At the moment, the variation is 0.2 to 0.3 per cent. Variation may be larger than this by municipality.
Comparability - geographical
Comparability - over time
Changes in legislation also affect the comparability of statistics. The so-called short-term employment act entered into force at the beginning of 1998, when short employment relationships were also covered by the pension insurance. This increased the number of employed persons somewhat. From 2005 to 2016, persons aged 18 to 67 were covered by employment pension insurance. Before 2005, persons were covered by employment pension insurance from the age of 14. This is visible in the employment statistics from 2005 onwards as a fall in employment by young people and a rise in the number of students.
In connection with the pension reform of 2017, the minimum age limit for employment pension insurance was lowered to 17 years.
The minimum age limit for entrepreneurial pension insurance remained at 18 years. The change in 2017 has not been taken into account in the deduction of employed persons in the employment statistics, but the age limit for employed persons is still 18 years.
Since the beginning of 2009, grant recipients have been insured under statutory employment pension security in accordance with the Farmers’ Pension Act (MYEL), which means that they are classified as entrepreneurs.
Starting from the 2010 statistics, the definition of entrepreneurs takes into account not only entrepreneurial income but also the so-called entrepreneurial pay included in earned income in personal taxation (pay of self-employed persons insured under the YEL/MYEL insurance), which an entrepreneur can receive, for example, as a partner in an open partnership, as a liable partner in a limited partnership and as a shareholder in a leading position in a limited company. If a person acts both as an entrepreneur and an employee during the last week of the year, he/she is defined as an entrepreneur if his/her combined entrepreneurial income and pay are higher than other earned income, and vice versa. Taking entrepreneurial pay into account in defining entrepreneurs increased the number of entrepreneurs by around 3,300 in the 2010 statistics.
In 2010 to 2011, the number of entrepreneurs rose by 9,600 in the whole country. The rise was affected by the widening of the definition of an entrepreneur in the Self-employed Persons’ and Farmers' Pensions Act from the beginning of 2011. An entrepreneur is a person working in a limited company or in another community in a leading position who alone owns more than 30 per cent of the shares in the enterprise or who alone holds more than 30 per cent of the votes produced by the shares or who has equivalent control in another community. Previously the limit was 50 per cent.
The duration of military service and non-military service was shortened by 15 days from 1 February 2013 (acts amending the Conscription Act and the Non-Military Service Act). As a result of the legislative amendment, a majority of conscripts leave the service before Christmas and are thus no longer in military or non-military service during the reference period of employment statistics (last week of the year). As a result of the amendment, the number of conscripts decreased in 2012 to 2013 by nearly 9,400.
The number of persons on unemployment pension has fallen strongly since the end of the 2000s. Unemployment pensions have not been granted since 2011.
Starting from the 2013 statistics, statistics on those employed in industry 97000 Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel were compiled more extensively than before. In the statistical reference year 2013, industry 97000 grew by nearly 7,600 employed persons. If the persons were employed in the previous year, the most common earlier industry was unknown.
Starting from the 2015 statistics, data on the agricultural industry have become revised. Changes between the statistical reference years 2014 to 2015 are visible on the more detailed classification levels of industry 01 (Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities) as moves to categories describing the agricultural line of production more closely.
In 2017, regular interviews of unemployed job seekers were started with which the job seeker register could be updated. The fall in the number of unemployed between 2016 and 2017 may be partly affected by the updates made to the job seeker register based on the interviews. There are no exact data on the effect of interviews on the number of unemployed persons, but the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has estimated that the effect could be 20,000 to 30,000 persons (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment analyses 83/2017).
The concepts of earned income and entrepreneurial income used in the deduction of wage and salary earners were widened in 2014.
In 2019, the Incomes Register was introduced as a new source data in employment statistics. The Incomes Register replaced several employment data previously used in the statistics.
In 2019, the data of persons in the 9th and 10th grades were compiled from the Koski data repository for the first time. Due to the way the data was stored, the data was partially incomplete. As a result, about 400-800 16-year-olds are classified in the group of the other inactive population instead of students.
The used definitions now correspond with the corresponding income concepts of the total statistics on income distribution.
Before 1987, data by municipality describing the economic activity of the population were produced in questionnaire-based population censuses (from 1950, 1960, 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1985). Differences between register-based and questionnaire-based data have proven to be so small that comparability over time can be regarded as relatively good for other classification changes than those mentioned above.
Coherence - cross domain
Statistics concerning occupations are, in addition to the employment statistics, published at Statistics Finland also in statistics on wages and salaries and in the Labour Force Survey. The occupational data of the statistics on wages and salaries are the main source of occupational data for the employment statistics so the data are quite similar. The data of the statistics on wages and salaries does not, however, contain self-employed persons, enterprises’ top management, enterprises employing fewer than five persons, and enterprises whose main industry is agriculture, forestry or fishing. The occupational data of the employment statistics and the Labour Force Survey derive from different sources and concern different time periods - the Labour Force Survey is compiled monthly while the reference period of the employment statistics is the last week of the year. The concepts used by the statistics also differ slightly from one another. For example, in the employment statistics only self-employed persons whose enterprise size according to the Business Register is at least five staff-years are classified as managers, otherwise the occupations of self-employed persons are defined based on the main industry of the enterprise.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment publishes statistics on the number of unemployed job seekers. The data of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment's job seeker register describe the number of unemployed job seekers on the last weekday of the month. The employment statistics' data on unemployment are based on the data of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment's job seeker register. Thus, the employment statistics and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment's figures on unemployment are relatively close to each other.
Coherence - internal
Source data and data collections
- Population Information System (Digital and Population Data Services Agency)
- Incomes Register
- the register of job seekers of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
- the pension registers of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland and the Finnish Centre for Pensions
- different student registers
- Conscripts Register of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.
- Statistics Finland's Register of Enterprises and Establishments and the Register of Public Corporations.
- Statistics Finland’s Register of Completed Education and Degrees
- inquiry on establishments of persons working in multi-establishment enterprises
- collection of data on occupations from unorganised enterprises
Inquiry on establishment structure and personnelThe joint inquiry on establishment structure and personnel of employment statistics and Statistics Finland
is sent to multiple-establishment enterprises and corporations towards the end of the year. The inquiry covers annually approximately 5,000 enterprises or corporations. The inquiry is replied to using a web questionnaire. Finally, Statistics Finland's interviewers try to reach non-respondent enterprises and corporations.
Data collection on occupationsData on occupations cannot be derived from registers for some employees in the private sector, so they are inquired with a data collection. Each year, the data collection on occupations includes around 10,000 unorganised enterprises that are not included in the sample of Statistics Finland's statistics on wages and salaries. Some of the enterprises are included in the data collection on personnel of multi-establishment enterprises for employment statistics, in which case the occupations are inquired in connection with this data collection. The data collection is conducted annually in spring.
Frequency of data collection
Main type of activity and period data, industry, sectorThe data processing processes combine and complement the data and review and correct the data collected in the collections. These processes can be performed as source data are entered into the database. The process phases are checking and correcting of establishment codes, mechanical enterprise and entrepreneurial linking, manual enterprise linking, mechanical establishment linking, run of checking programs and manual correcting of data.
The main and secondary employment relationship for persons is selected possibly from several employment relationships and the person’s main type of activity is concluded (e.g. employed, unemployed, student, pensioner, etc.).
In addition, several further data are formed in the production of employment statistics (e.g. unemployment, job seeking, compulsory military and non-military service), which can be utilised in examinations of different reference periods.
OccupationIn the employment statistics, data on occupation are produced primarily for wage and salary earners and entrepreneurs aged 18 to 74 based on the person's main employment relationship during the last week of the year.
The occupational code is primarily formed for the person based on the occupational title, industry data, education and sector with an application. Some of the data on the occupations of wage and salary earners (employer organisations) are obtained as ready codes from the statistics on wages and salaries.
New occupational titles can be added to the application of the register of occupations as search words or synonyms for the search word. Rules can be added and updated for search words. The rules contain the establishment's or enterprise's industry data, sector data and enterprise's size data and the person's education and occupational status data (entrepreneur, wage and salary earner). In the dictionary of occupations of the occupation application, there are around 30,000 search words related to occupations and conditions related to them.
Entrepreneurs are also classified with the application of the register of occupations. Entrepreneurs' deduction rules are mainly based on industry and size of enterprise. Owners and managing directors of small enterprises employing under five persons are classified into occupations to which their work tasks relate, e.g. hairdresser, taxi driver, etc. In companies with 5 to 49 employees, managers are classified in categories 12, 13 or 14. For example, a managing director in a construction company with five or more but under 50 employees is classified in category 1323 Construction managers. In companies, with 50 or more employees, managing directors are classified in category 1120 Managing directors and chief executives.
In addition, so-called untitled data are formed for wage and salary earners without occupational groups, to whom occupations are also run with the application. In addition to the industry, education and sector, the deduction rules for untitled use age limit and pay limit conditions for some occupational codes.
Some, around six per cent, deduction of occupations must also be made manually and they mainly concern entrepreneurs, untitled and errors detected at the checking stage. In addition to background data revised at different stages of the process, data from previous years are also used here.
Because several occupational titles can be found for some persons from the sources, it is important to combine the occupation data with the main employment relationship during the last week of the year. Data on occupations and employment relationships are primarily taken from the same register but this cannot always be done. Then the person's occupation and main employment relationship with its industries selected in the employment statistics can describe a different employment relationship.
Socio-economic groupData on socio-economic group are formed for the entire population, i.e. persons permanently resident in Finland on the last day of the statistical reference year.
Socio-economic groups are produced with the application. Data on socio-economic group are based on data on the person's age, main type of activity, occupation, status in occupations and industry. Starting from data concerning 2010, the Classification of Occupations 2010 is used as the basis for data on socio-economic groups. Persons have been classified according to their own activity, apart from persons aged 0 to 15 and the group ‘others outside the labour force’ (mainly home-makers), who have been assigned the same socio-economic group as the reference person in the household.
Principles and outlines
Contact organisation unit
Legal acts and other agreements
The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics.
Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.
Further information: Statistical legislationThe production of employment statistics data is based on the EU's Regulation (EC) No 763/2008 on population and housing censuses, according to which population censuses and related censuses of dwellings and real estate are carried out every ten years. In Finland, data according to the Regulation on population censuses (incl. employment statistics data) are produced yearly.
The data of the employment statistics are also supplied for international reporting to UOE Personnel, Eurostat, OECD, the UNESCO in cooperation with the statistics on educational institutions. Data on teachers are only aggregated number data, that is, it is not a question of actual data transfer. Based on Commission Regulation (EU) No 912/2013.
Confidentiality - policy
The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.
Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Confidentiality - data treatment
However, data on age, sex, occupation, socio-economic group and education may be released for the above-mentioned purposes with identification data as well.
Data to be protectedTabulated data refer to statistics where unit-level data have been aggregated and arranged in table format. In the information service of the statistics the statistical unit can be a person, family, household, dwelling, household-dwelling unit or building. In addition to these data, data on enterprises or establishments can be published.
According to the use target, tabulated data can be either
- A frequency table where the cell values are the numbers of statistical units belonging to the cell (e.g. employed persons), where the cell values are sums, averages or
- other corresponding key figures of some variable to be tabulated (e.g. income data), or a combination of the above where both cell frequencies and magnitude data are visible.
When determining the risk, the following are taken into consideration: sensitive variables or special groups in the table (foreigners, high income groups), number of variables and classification categories, cell and category frequencies (threshold value rule), and the size and location accuracy of the statistical area.
Particular attention is paid to sensitive data defined in the Personal Data Act concerning a person's
- race or ethnic group,
- social, political or religious affiliation or trade union membership, criminal act, punishment or other criminal sanction,
- state of health, illness or handicap of a person or the treatment or other comparable measures directed at the person;
- sexual preferences or sex life; or
- social welfare needs or the benefits received, support or other social welfare assistance received by the person and other sensitive data; such as
- cause of death, language, nationality, origin or country of birth, income, liabilities and assets as well as main type of activity, occupational status, rare occupation or other variable describing socio-economic group.
The principle is that data relating only to the workplace or municipality of residence (e.g. employed persons by industry or commuting data by municipality) need not be protected due to data protection risks. Protection is also not made when mere numerical data are released, and nothing special is revealed, for example, about individual persons.
More attention is paid to data protection whenever more data on the statistical unit can be revealed through the table (e.g. the above-listed sensitive data, income, etc.) or when the regional data are a more detailed regional division than a region, which enables the possibility of indirect identification.
If a disclosure risk exists, the data in the table must be sufficiently protected. The cell-specific threshold value 3 is used in the statistics of the unit when defining the disclosure risk. The dominance rule is not used in the statistics.
Protection methodsSuppression or changing the structure of the classification/table is almost always used as the protection method for tables:
- Suppression pays attention to primary suppression of cells with a risk of disclosure and secondary suppression. Secondary suppression ensures that the values of primarily suppressed cells cannot be calculated by means of table row or column totals. Secondary suppression can be done so that in addition to the smallest cell frequency, the second smallest cell frequency is also suppressed (protection based on SAS code) or so that the number of cells to be suppressed is minimised (Tau-Argus). The cell value is replaced in suppression with the symbol “..”.
- When needed, suppression can also be made specifically for each row. This means that if only a small number of statistical units belong to a row total of the table (fewer than the used threshold value 3), the row in question is suppressed in its entirety. The values of the row cells are replaced in suppression with the symbol “..”.
- If the table has many sensitive cells or the cells to be protected are centred in only a few categories, the protection can also be made by changing the structure of the table. The structure of the table can be changed, for example, by reducing the number of variables or by changing the classifications of variables. The smaller area the statistics concern, the lower the number of table variables must be. Cross-tabulation of several variables must also be avoided in small area statistics.
- By changing the classification, the cells with a risk of disclosure are removed from the table by combining the categories contained in them to other categories in the table or by forming a new category (e.g. others). Changing the classification usually means that the whole classification becomes less detailed.
Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland
Accessibility and clarity
Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.
In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.
Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.
Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.
Data revision - policy
Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.
The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.
Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.
Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.
Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.
Further information: Publication principles for statistics
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