Press release 26.4.2005

Employment and unemployment in March 2005

- Number of employed persons 51,000 higher than one year ago
- Employment rate 67.1 per cent
- Number of unemployed 23,000 lower than one year before
- Rate of unemployment 8.5 per cent, 219,000 unemployed
- 41,000 new vacancies at labour exchange offices
- In the first quarter of 2005, average number of employed persons 36,000 higher than in pervious year's corresponding quarter

According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons was 51,000 higher in March than one year previously. The number of wage earners grew, but that of self-employed persons remained almost unchanged. The proportion of atypical employment relationships grew: there were 56,000 more part-time and/or fixed-term employment contracts than in the previous year. Employment increased in building construction, trade, financial intermediation and insurance activity, real estate services, and public and other services. Jobs decreased in metal and other manufacturing industry, transport and business services. Employment increased in the Provinces of Southern and Western Finland but remained unchanged in other provinces.

In March, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 67.1 per cent, which was 1.3 percentage points higher than one year before. The employment rate for women rose by 2.4 percentage points to 66.3 per cent and that for men by 0.2 percentage points to 67.8 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the employment rate was 68.1 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 3/2004 - 3/2005, thousand persons

March 2005 March 2004 Change, %
3/04 - 3/05
Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
Employed total 2 365 2 314 2.2
- wage and salary earners 2 062 2 013 2.5
- self-employed and assisting family members 302 301 0.4
Employment rate, % 67.1 65.8 1.3 2
Unemployed 1 219 242 -9.6
Unemployment rate, % 8.5 9.5 -1.0 2
Labour force, total 2 584 2 556 1.1
Labour force participation rate 65.5 65.0 0.5 2
Economically inactive, total 1 360 1 376 -1.2
- students 361 377 -4.3
- persons performing domestic work 89 90 -0.9
Economically inactive persons in disguised unemployment 81 68 19.0
Ministry of Labour's Labour Exchange Statistics:
Unemployed job seekers 278 289 -3.7
- unemployed over a year 74 72 1.6
Employed with subsidised measures 35 36 -3.0
In labour market training 35 37 -5.0
In trainee and job alternation places 22 22 0.5
New vacancies at labour exchange offices 41 42 -0.7
Unrounded figures are used in the CHANGE column
1 Based on the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
2 percentage points

According to the Labour Force Survey, there were 219,000 unemployed in March, which is 23,000 fewer than one year previously. The rate of unemployment was 8.5 per cent, having been 9.5 per cent one year before. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the unemployment rate was 8.3 per cent.

The unemployment rate for women was 7.9 per cent and that for men 9.0 per cent. The unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 was 22.5 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the unemployment rate for young people was 20.2 per cent. The rate of unemployment was lowest in the Province of Southern Finland, i.e. 6.7 per cent, and highest in the Province of Lapland at 14.9 per cent. Among all branches of industry the rate of unemployment was highest in construction, 11.3 per cent.

According to the Labour force Survey, in the first quarter of 2005 the average number of employed persons was 2,337,000, which is 36,000 higher than in the corresponding quarter of the year before. The rate of employment rose by 0.8 percentage points and was 66.3 per cent. The average number of unemployed persons was 235,000, that is, 2,000 lower than in the first quarter of 2004.

At the end of March 2005, there were altogether 278,000 persons registered, in accordance with the Unemployment Security Act and the Labour Exchange Office Regulations, as job seekers at the labour exchange offices. The number of job seekers was 11,000 lower than in March 2004. Compared with the year before, unemployment fell in the areas of all Employment and Economic Development Centres except for that of Lapland. The number of those covered by employment policy measures was 3,000 lower than in March 2004, being 3.6 per cent of the labour force. There were 28,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the labour exchange offices. Their number was 4,000 lower than in March 2004. During this March, 41,000 new vacancies were reported to the labour exchange offices, which is 1,000 fewer 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 ± 15,000 persons.

Inquiries:
Statistics Finland: Mr Pekka Tossavainen +358 9 1734 3517, Mr Kalle Sinivuori +358 9 1734 3524,
Mr Veli Rajaniemi +358 9 1734 3434;
Email: tyovoima.tilastokeskus@stat.fi
Ministry of Labour: Mr Oiva Lönnberg +358 10 60 48048;
Latest seasonally adjusted unemployment figures published by the EU.