Press release 25.1.2005

Employment and unemployment in December 2004

- Number of employed persons unchanged
- Employment rate 66.3 per cent
- Number of unemployed fell by 14,000
- Rate of unemployment 7.7 per cent, 195,000 unemployed
- 21,000 new vacancies at labour exchange offices

According to the labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons in December 2004 was 2,336,000, or about the same as one year earlier. The number of unemployed persons fell by 14,000. The number of economically inactive persons was 23,000 higher than in December 2003.

There were 7,000 more wage earners and 7,000 fewer self-employed persons than in December 2003. The number of wage earners engaged in continuous full-time work fell by 29,000. The number of persons in atypical, that is, part-time and/or fixed-term employment relationships was 35,000 higher than one year earlier. Compared with December 2003, employment increased in trade, and in public and other services. Jobs decreased in manufacturing and business services. Employment increased in the Province of Western Finland and decreased in the Province of Eastern Finland.

In December, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of employed persons among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 66.3 per cent, which was 0.1 percentage point lower than twelve months earlier. The employment rate for men rose by 0.3 percentage points to 68.0 per cent and that for women fell by 0.5 percentage points to 64.5 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the employment rate was 67.4 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 12/2003 - 12/2004, thousand

December 2004 December 2003 CHANGE, %
12/03 - 12/04
Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
Employed, total 2 336 2 336 0.0
- wage and salary earners 2 035 2 028 0.3
- self-employed and assisting family members 301 308 -2.1
Employment rate, % 66.3 66.4 -0.1 2
Unemployed1 195 209 -7.0
Unemployment rate, % 7.7 8.2 -0.5 2
Labour force, total 2 531 2 545 -0.6
Labour force participation rate 64.2 64.7 -0.5 2
Economically inactive, total 1 409 1 386 1.7
- students 385 387 -0.7
- persons performing domestic work 98 86 14.0
Economically inactive persons in disguised unemployment 112 92 21.7
Ministry of Labour's Labour Exchange Statistics:
Unemployed job seekers 301 305 -1.4
- unemployed over a year 76 72 5.0
Employed with subsidised measures 33 34 -1.4
In labour market training 29 30 -2.1
In trainee and job alternation places 19 19 2.1
New vacancies at labour exchange offices 21 16 33.1
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 195,000 unemployed in December, which is 14,000 less than one year earlier. The rate of unemployment was 7.7 per cent, having been 8.2 per cent twelve months earlier. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent. The unemployment rate for men fell by 0.7 percentage points to 7.9 per cent and that for women by 0.3 percentage points to 7.5 per cent. The unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 remained unchanged at 16.7 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal variation, the unemployment rate for young people was 20.5 per cent. The rate of unemployment was lowest in the Province of Southern Finland at 5.9 per cent and highest in the Province of Lapland at 14.2 per cent.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the average number of employed persons in 2004 was 2,365,000, which is about the same as in 2003. The rate of employment in 2004 was 67.2 per cent, having been 67.3 per cent in 2003. The number of employed persons fell in the early part of the year but the positive development in employment in the latter half of the year raised the average for the whole year to the previous year's level. The average number of unemployed persons was 229,000, which is 6,000 lower than in 2003. The rate of unemployment was 8.8 per cent, having been 9.0 per cent in 2003.

At the end of December, there were altogether 301,000 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 4,000 lower than in December 2003. Unemployment increased from the previous year in the areas of the Employment and Economic Development Centres of Uusimaa and South Savo, but continued to decrease elsewhere in the country. The number of persons covered by employment policy measures was 1,000 lower than in December 2003, and was 3.3 per cent of the labour force. There were 35,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the labour exchange offices. Their number was 1,000 lower than in December 2003. During December 2004, 21,000 new vacancies were reported to the labour exchange offices, which is 5,000 more than in December 2003.

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 ± 0.5 percentage points. The confidence interval for the number of unemployed is approximately ± 14,000 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 at: http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/3-07012005-AP/EN/3-07012005-AP-EN.PDF


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