Press release 24.4.2007

Employment and unemployment in March 2007

- Number of employed persons 51,000 higher than one year earlier
- Employment rate 68.7 per cent
- Unemployment rate 7.7 per cent, 203,000 unemployed
- 60,000 new vacancies at labour exchange offices
- During the first quarter of 2007, number of employed persons 34,000 higher than one year before

According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons in March was 2,446,000, or 51,000 higher than a year earlier. Employment increased in the private sector, but remained unchanged in the public sector. The number of employed persons grew in all provinces.

In March, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 68.7 per cent, which was 1.1 percentage points higher than one year before. The employment rate of men was 69.0 per cent and that of women 68.3 per cent. The seasonally adjusted trend of employment rate was 69.4 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 3/2006 - 3/2007, thousand persons

  March 2007 March 2006 CHANGE %
3/06 - 3/07
 Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
 Employed, total 2 446 2 395 2.1
 - wage and salary earners 2 141 2 095 2.2
 - self-employed and assisting family members 305 300 1.6
 Employment rate, % 68.7 67.6 1.12
 Unemployed1 203 211 -4.0
 Unemployment rate, % 7.7 8.1 -0.42
 Labour force, total 2 648 2 607 1.6
 Labour force participation rate, % 66.6 65.9 0.72
 Economically inactive, total 1 326 1 351 -1.9
 - students 354 355 -0.3
 - persons performing domestic work 91 102 -10.4
 Economically inactive persons in disguised unemployment 75 76 -0.7
 
 Ministry of Labour's Labour Exchange Statistics:
 Unemployed job seekers 222 258 -14.1
 - unemployed over a year 55 68 -19.4
 Employed with subsidised measures 40 37 7.1
 In labour market training 36 34 8.0
 In trainee and job alternation places 18 19 -1.1
 New vacancies at labour exchange offices 60 50 20.1
 Unrounded figures are used in the CHANGE column
 Due to rounding the year-on-year changes in the table do not always match the figures in the text
 1Based on the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation
2percentage points

According to the Labour Force Survey, there were 203,000 unemployed in March 2007, which is 8,000 fewer than in March the year before. At 7.7 per cent the unemployment rate was 0.4 percentage points lower than one year before. The seasonally adjusted trend of unemployment rate was 7.2 per cent in March.

The rate of unemployment was lowest in the Province of Western Finland, i.e. 6.7 per cent, and highest in the Province of Oulu, at 10.5 per cent. In March 2006, the unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 was 22.7 per cent, which was 3.5 percentage points higher than in March the year before. The seasonally adjusted trend of unemployment rate for young people was 18.7 per cent.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the average number of employed persons during the first quarter of 2007was 2,415,000, which is 34,000 more than over the corresponding period the year before. Employment increased only in the private sector. The number of wage earners went up and that of self-employed persons was nearly unchanged. During the first quarter of the year employment increased in the construction, hotel and restaurant as well as business services industries. The number of unemployed persons was 198,000, or 21,000 fewer than in the January to March period of 2006. The number of the unemployed remained nearly level with one year ago in the Province of Southern Finland but their number decreased in the other provinces.

At end-March 2007, there were altogether 222,000 persons registered, in accordance with the Unemployment Security Act and the Labour Exchange Office Regulations, as unemployed job seekers at the labour exchange offices. The number of unemployed job seekers was 36,000 lower than in March 2006. 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 5,000 higher than in March the year before, and was 3.6 per cent of the labour force. There were 21,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the labour exchange offices. Their number was 4,000 lower than in last year's March. During this March, 60,000 new vacancies were reported to the labour exchange offices, which is 10,000 more than in March 2006.

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 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 margin of error, for the unemployment rate in March is about ± 0.6 percentage points. The confidence interval for the number of unemployed persons in March is approximately ± 16,000 persons.

Inquiries:

Statistics Finland: Mr Juha Martikainen +358 9 1734 3225, Mr Veli Rajaniemi +358 9 1734 3434, Mr Kalle Sinivuori +358 9 1734 3524, Information Service/Labour Force Survey +358 9 1734 2030, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi
Internet: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/index_en.html

Ministry of Labour: Mr Oiva Lönnberg +358 10 60 48048, Internet: http://www.mol.fi/employmentbulletin

Latest seasonally adjusted employment figures published by the EU