2 Employment and unemployment in 2010 on level with the year before

2.1 The decline in employment halted in 2010

The decline in employment halted in 2010. At 67.8 per cent, the employment rate was only 0.5 percentage points lower in 2010 than in 2009. The employment rate was now at the same level as in 2002.

Men's employment rate was 68.7 per cent. No appreciable change from the previous year took place in the employment rate. Women's employment rate fell by one percentage point to 66.9 per cent. There is still only a minor difference of under two percentage points in the employment rate between men and women. (Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Employment rate by sex in 1989–2010, persons aged 15 to 64, %

Figure 1. Employment rate by sex in 1989–2010, persons aged 15 to 64, %

In 2010, the average number of employed persons was 2,447,000, which was 10,000 lower than in 2009. The decline in employment almost levelled off in 2010, as in 2009 the number of employed persons had decreased by 74,000. In 2010, the number of employed persons was at the same level as in 2006 (Figure 2). Compared to the quarters of 2009, employment decreased in the first two quarters of 2010 but began to show growth in the third and last quarters.

Figure 2. Number of employed persons by sex in 1989–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 2. Number of employed persons by sex in 1989–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

There were 2,120,000 employees in 2010, which was almost the same number as one year earlier. While in 2009 the number of self-employed persons grew by 10,000 persons, in 2010 their number turned to a decline. The number decreased by 7,000 persons. There were 328,000 self-employed persons and assisting family members in 2010. The share of assisting family members of this total was 14,000. The average share of self-employed persons among employed persons was 13.4 per cent.

Men's employment situation improved

Men's employment began to show slight growth in 2010. Figure 3 shows a time series over 20 years on changes in the number of employed persons by gender. Whereas a steep drop (–60 000) can be seen in the number of employed men in 2009, the situation was distinctly brighter in 2010. Men's employment improved by 4,000 persons. The number of employed women fell by further 14,000, or by as much as in the previous year.

The same phenomenon can be seen in the development of the number of employed persons over the 2009–2010 period as in the years from 1991 to 1994. Then, too, men's employment worsened more sharply than women's but then correspondingly improved faster than women's. After economic downturns women's employment improves at a longer lag.

Figure 3. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by sex in 1990–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 3. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by sex in 1990–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

Employment decreased in manufacturing, and in health and social work

Figure 4 shows change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by industry in 2009 and 2010. Employment continued to decrease most in manufacturing where the number of employed persons fell by 18,000 from the previous year. The vast majority of them were men (–15,000). Employment also weakened in human health and social work (–10,000) whereas in 2009 employment in these industries was still growing. Employment increased most in education, which employed 10,000 persons more than in 2009. Changes in employment were minor in other industries.

Employment declined in the private sector. The number of persons employed in the private sector fell by 19,000. In the public sector the number of employed persons grew by 6,000. Employment increased in the local government sector which employed 8,000 persons more than in the previous year.

Examined by socio-economic group, employment decreased most among manual workers and lower-level employees. The largest individual groups in which employment decreased were male manual workers in manufacturing (–12,000 persons), and female lower-level employees in human health and social work activities (–8,000). By contrast, employment among upper-level employees grew by 23,000 persons, the majority of them men.

Figure 4. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by industry in 2009–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 4. Change from the previous year in the number of employed persons by industry in 2009–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

Industrial Classification (TOL 2008)

A, B      01–09      Agriculture, forestry and fishing; mining and quarrying
C-E 10–39 Manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning and watersupply; sewerage and waste management
F 41–43 Construction
G 45–47 Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
H 49–53 Transportation and storage
I 55–56 Accommodation and food service activities
J 58–63 Information and communication
K, L 64–68 Financial, insurance and real estate activities
M, N 69–82 Professional, scientific and technical activities; administrativeand support service activities
O 84 Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
P 85 Education
Q 86–88 Human health and social work activities
R–U 90–99 Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities

Number of hours worked increased slightly

The bottoming out of the economic downturn can also be seen in the number of hours worked by employed persons. The number of hours worked by employed persons was one per cent higher in 2010 than in 2009. As the number of employed persons remained almost unchanged, the amount of labour input per employed persons increased slightly in 2010. In 2010, the average annual number of hours worked by an employed person was 1,633, whereas in 2009 the respective figure was 1,611 hours per year.

The growth in the number of hours worked was also due to a reduction in the number of temporary lay-offs. In 2010, the average number of laid-off persons was 21,000, while the same number in the previous year was 37,000. Compared to the quarters of the year before, the number of temporarily laid-off persons decreased in every quarter of the year. In the first quarter the reduction in the number of laid-off persons was still quite small but in the subsequent quarters the number decreased clearly. In the second quarter of 2010, the number of laid-off persons was already 23,000 lower than in the respective quarter of the year before. (Table 1.)

Table 1. Number of temporarily laid-off persons 2008–2010 by quarter

Quarter                2008        2009        2010       
I 7,000 38,000 35,000
II 4,000 42,000 19,000
III 4,000 31,000 15,000
IV 14,000 36,000 14,000
Annual mean 7,200 37,000 21,000

There were fewer underemployed persons, that is, persons who would like to do more work than is available, in 2010 than one year earlier. While in 2009, underemployed persons numbered 133,000, in 2010 the figure had fallen to 120,000.

Employment improved slightly in the oldest age groups

Changes in employment have been quite small in the different age groups (Figure 5). The number of employed persons decreased most in the 34 to 45 age group. This age group had 16,000 fewer employed persons in 2010 than in the previous year. The employment rate for the age group fell by 1.3 percentage points. By contrast, employment increased slightly in the oldest age groups. There were 14,000 more employed persons in the 55 to 64 age group in 2010 than in the previous year. The employment rate for this age group was 56.2 per cent. The number of employed persons also went up slightly in the oldest age group of 65 to 74-year-olds. Changes in the employment rates by age group were minor; however, the rate rose a fraction for the oldest age groups and respectively fell for the youngest ones. The employment rate among persons aged between 20 to 64 was 72.8 per cent.

Since the review of retirement age in 2005, the effective retirement age has been flexible between 63 and 68 year. Employment in this age group has been showing growth although compared with younger age groups employment in the group is still minor. The employment rate for the group has risen from around 12 per cent in 2005 to 18 per cent or so in 2010. Employed persons in the age group numbered 67,000 in 2010, while the respective figure in 2005 was 36,000.

Figure 5. Employment rates by age group in 1989–2010, %

Figure 5. Employment rates by age group in 1989–2010, %

2.2 Changes in unemployment were minor in 2010

No appreciable changes took place in the unemployment situation between 2009 and 2010. In 2010, the average unemployment rate was 8.4 per cent, having been 8.2 per cent in 2009. Men’s unemployment rate was 9.1 per cent and women’s 7.6 per cent.

In 2010, the average number of unemployed persons was 224,000, which was 3,000 higher than in 2009. There were 126,000 unemployed men and 98,000 unemployed women. Compared to 2009, there were 4,000 more unemployed men. Hardly any change took place in the number of unemployed women.

Compared to the quarters of the previous year, the number of unemployed persons increased in the first quarter of 2010. In the last three quarters of the year the number of unemployed persons began to fall. Thus, early on in the year the employment situation was still deteriorating and unemployment worsening, but from there on the situation started to improve.

Besides unemployed persons, persons in disguised unemployment can also be regarded as jobless. Persons in disguised unemployment are economically inactive persons who would like to be gainfully employed but do not actively look for work for diverse reasons. In 2010, there were 102,000 persons in disguised unemployment, which is 8,000 more than in 2009. The numbers of persons in disguised unemployment were the highest in the 15 to 24 age group (32,000) and the 55 to 64 age group (25,000). The combined total number of unemployed persons and persons in disguised unemployment was 326,000 in 2010, which equals the level in 2004. (Figure 6.)

Figure 6. Unemployed persons and persons in disguised unemployment in 1997–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

Figure 6. Unemployed persons and persons in disguised unemployment in 1997–2010, persons aged 15 to 74

The changes in the unemployment rate were minor in all age groups between 2009 and 2010 (Figure 7). Measured with the unemployment rate, unemployment was still most widespread in the 15 to 24 age group. The unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 was 21.4 per cent in 2010. The number of unemployed young persons was also the highest, at 68,000, when compared to other ten-year age groups. However, it should be noted that the unemployment rate measures the share of unemployed persons of the active population. Because the majority of the young people in the 15 to 24 age group are students, i.e. economically inactive, this raises the unemployment rate. When the share of unemployed persons of the total age group is examined, we can see that one in ten of young persons between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed (Figure 8).

Figure 7. Unemployment rates by age group in 1989–2010, %

Figure 7. Unemployment rates by age group in 1989–2010, %

Figure 8. Shares of employed and unemployed persons and inactive population of age group in 2010, %

Figure 8. Shares of employed and unemployed persons and inactive population of age group in 2010, %

2.3 Number of women in the inactive population grew

From 2009 to 2010, the size of the population of working age grew by 19,000 persons in Finland. In 2010, the size of Finland's population of working age, i.e. aged between 15 and 74, was 4,043,000 persons. The number of persons aged between 55 and 64 showed the largest growth of 14,000. Indeed, persons aged from 55 to 64 form the largest age group in the population of working age (Figure 9).

Although the number of persons of working age increased, the active population decreased by 6,000 persons in 2010. There were 1,372,000 economically inactive persons. The number grew by 25,000 persons, the majority (23,000) of them women. The size of the inactive population increased most in the 25 to 34 age group. The commonest reasons why people in this age group become economically inactive is either to begin studying or caring for own children or some other relative. The size of the inactive population decreased further in the 55 to 64 age group.

Activity rate went up by about one percentage point in the 55 to 64 and 65 to 74 age groups. In age groups younger than this the activity rate remained unchanged or fell slightly between 2009 and 2010.

Figure 9. Population of working age and active population by age group in 2010

Figure 9. Population of working age and active population by age group in 2010

Source: Labour force survey 2010. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kalle Sinivuori (09) 1734 3524, Kirsi Toivonen (09) 1734 3535, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Director in charge: Riitta Harala


Updated 1.11.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. Time series data 2001-2010 2010, 2 Employment and unemployment in 2010 on level with the year before . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.4.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/2010/16/tyti_2010_16_2011-11-01_kat_002_en.html