Published: 28 January 2021

Employment weakened clearly in December

According to Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey, the number of employed people was 74,000 lower in December 2020 than one year ago. There were 48,000 more unemployed than in December 2019. The trend of the employment rate was 71.8 per cent and the trend of the unemployment rate was 8.2 per cent.

Employment rate and trend of employment rate 2009/12–2020/12, persons aged 15–64

Employment rate and trend of employment rate 2009/12–2020/12, persons aged 15–64

Employment and unemployment vary quite considerably by month and the change from the observation of the previous month mainly describes the seasonal aspect rather than the trend in development. Thus, the latest statistical data are compared to the corresponding period of the year before. By contrast, the figures of the trend series that are adjusted for seasonal and random variation are mutually comparable and phenomena associated with long-term development and cyclical changes are thus more easily observable from the trend of the time series.

The trend usually changes somewhat when the data of the following month are included in the time series. This preliminary nature of trend figures should be considered when making conclusions. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is untypical variation in the time series in 2020, which is why uncertainty related to trend figures is higher than usual. In connection with the calculation of the September data, the fall in employment in the spring was interpreted as a level shift in the seasonal adjustment model, because employment has not returned to the same level during the past six months. The level shift is visible as a steep change in the trend graphs. The figures reported in this release are not adjusted for seasonal variation unless separately mentioned that they concern the trend. Find out more about the trend here .

The trend of the employment rate was 71.8 per cent in December and the trend of the unemployment rate was 8.2 per cent. Based on the seasonally adjusted data for December, both the trend of the employment rate and the trend of the unemployment rate have remained nearly unchanged since October.

In December 2020, the number of employed persons was 2,496,000 (margin of error ±36,000), which was 74,000 lower than a year earlier. There were 26,000 fewer employed men and 48,000 fewer employed women than in December 2019.

In December, the employment rate , that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 70.7 per cent, having been 73.0 per cent one year earlier. From the previous year’s December, the employment rate of men aged 15 to 64 fell by 1.9 percentage points to 71.5 per cent and that of women by 2.7 percentage points to 70.0 per cent.

According to Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey, there were 212,000 unemployed in December 2020 (margin of error ±21,000), i.e. 48,000 more than one year earlier. The number of unemployed men was 119,000 and that of women 93,000.

The unemployment rate was 7.8 per cent in December, having been 6.0 per cent in the year before. The unemployment rate for men rose by 2.3 percentage points from the previous year’s December to 8,4 per cent. The unemployment rate for women rose by 1.4 percentage points to 7.2 per cent.

In December, there were a total of 607,000 young people aged 15 to 24 . Of them, 226,000 were employed and 56,000 unemployed. Thus, the number of young people in the active population, i.e. the employed and unemployed in total, was 282,000. In December, the unemployment rate for young people aged 15 to 24, that is, the proportion of the unemployed among the labour force, stood at 20.0 per cent, which was 5.2 percentage points higher than one year previously. The trend of the unemployment rate among young people was 20.4 per cent. The share of unemployed young people aged 15 to 24 among the population in the same age group was 9.3 per cent.

There were 1,421,000 persons in the inactive population in December 2020, which was 23,000 more than one year earlier. Of the inactive population, 129,000 persons were in disguised unemployment , which was 14,000 more than in December 2019.

Changes in employment 2019/12 – 202012 according to Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey, population aged 15 to 74

  Year/Month Change
2019/12 2020/12 2019/12 - 2020/12
1000 persons Per cent, %
Population total 4 132 4 129 –0,1
Active population total 2 734 2 708 –1,0
Employed 2 570 2 496 –2,9
– employees 2 201 2 134 –3,1
– self-employed persons and unpaid family workers 369 361 –2,0
Unemployed 164 212 29,5
Inactive population 1 398 1 421 1,7
– Persons in disguised unemployment 115 129 12,2
  Per cent, % Percentage points
Employment rate, persons aged 15–64 73,0 70,7 –2,3
Unemployment rate 6,0 7,8 1,8
Activity rate 66,2 65,6 –0,6
Unrounded figures are used in the Change column.
The data comply with the ILO/EU definition.

Labour Force Survey data for the fourth quarter of 2020

The average number of employed in the fourth quarter of 2020 (October to December) was 2,522,000, which was 35,000 lower than in the corresponding quarter of 2019. The number of employed persons decreased most in human health and social work activities (Q), accommodation and food service activities (I) and transportation and storage (H).

The number of hours worked by employed persons was 0.9 per cent lower in the fourth quarter of 2020 than in the corresponding period in 2019.

The average number of unemployed persons in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 200,000, which was 36,000 more than in the October to December period of 2019. The unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the year was 7.4 per cent, which was 1.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of people in the inactive population was 1,407,000, which was almost the same as one year earlier. Of the inactive population, 125,000 persons were in disguised unemployment , which was 5,000 more than in the corresponding period of 2019.

Changes in employment 2019/IV – 2020/IV according to Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey, population aged 15 to 74

  Year/Quarter Change
2019/IV 2020/IV 2019/IV - 2020/IV
1000 persons Per cent (%)
Active population total 2 721 2 722 0,1
Employed persons total 2 557 2 522 –1,4
Unemployed total 164 200 22,1
– men 92 109 18,2
– women 72 91 27,1
Inactive population 1 410 1 407 –0,2
– Persons in disguised unemployment 120 125 3,9
Unrounded figures are used in the Change column.
The data comply with the ILO/EU definition.

Labour Force Survey annual averages for 2020

In 2020, the average number of employed persons was 2,528,000, which was 37,000 lower than in 2019. In 2020, the employment rate was 71.6 per cent, having been 72.6 per cent in 2019.

The rate of unemployment was, on average, 7.8 per cent in 2020, having been 6.7 per cent in 2019. In 2020, the average number of unemployed persons was 213,000, which was 29,000 more than in the year before.

The number of hours worked by employed persons was approximately 1.9 per cent lower in 2020 than in 2019. The amount of labour input or hours actually worked per employee fell slightly from 2019.

The annual averages from the Labour Force Survey for the year 2020 are published in the appendix tables of this publication and in the database tables of Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey : A general review on annual data concerning 2020 and on time series data for 2011 to 2020 will be released on 4 March 2021.

Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

At the end of December 2020, there were altogether 357,000 persons registered in accordance with the Employment Office Regulations as job seekers at the employment and economic development offices . The number of unemployed job seekers was 100,000 higher than in December in the previous year.

Unemployment rose in December from the previous year’s corresponding period in the areas of all Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment: most in Uusimaa (61%), Ostrobothnia (51%), Southwest Finland (43%), Pirkanmaa (35%) and Lapland (35%). The number of unemployed job seekers grew least in Kainuu (8%), North Karelia (19%), Southeast Finland (20%) and South Savo (22 %). At the end of December, the number of persons fully laid off registered at the employment and economic development offices was 78,000, which was 56,000 more than twelve months earlier.

The number of persons engaged in services included in the activation rate totalled 108,000 at the end of December, which was 3,000 lower than in December of the previous year. Altogether, 4.0 per cent of the labour force was covered by labour market policy services.

There were 44,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the employment and economic development offices. Their number was 11,000 higher than in December of the year before. During December, 50,000 new vacancies were reported to the employment and economic development offices, which was 5,000 fewer than in December 2019.

Changes 2019/12–2020/12 according to the Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

  Year/Month Change
2019/12 2020/12 2019/12 - 2020/12
1000 persons Per cent, %
Unemployed job seekers 258 357 38,7
– unemployed over a year 63 92 46,0
Services, total 111 108 –2,8
– employed 23 23 –0,9
– in labour market training, in training 21 24 14,0
– engaged in work/training trials 7 5 –19,4
– as a job alternation substitute, in rehabilitative work, self-motivated studies supported by unemployment benefit 61 56 –7,6
New vacancies at employment and economic development offices 55 50 –9,0
Unrounded figures are used in the Change column.

Contact information for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment:
Petri Syvänen, tel. +358 29 504 8050, Employment bulletin

Links

Publication and dissemination of Labour Force Survey data in the early part of 2021

The new classification of the employer sector was adopted in the Labour Force Survey starting from 1 January 2020. Comparison data according to the new classification of employer sectors for 2019 are published only in the appendix tables of the monthly and quarterly releases.

Labour Force Survey tables in databases

Seasonally adjusted time series of the key figures of the Labour Force Survey have been added to Database Table 11ag on 24 November 2020.

About seasonally adjusted trend

The accuracy of figures and the margins of error are explained in the quality description of the Labour Force Survey .

Comparison between the employment statistics of Statistics Finland and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Job vacancy survey

The latest seasonally adjusted employment figures published by the EU and
the latest data on open job vacancies published by the EU can be found on
Eurostat's home page http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat .


Source: Labour force survey 2020, December. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Tatu Leskinen 029551 3285, Ulla Hannula 029 551 2924, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

Publication in pdf-format (749.4 kB)

Tables

Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Figures
Quality descriptions

Updated 28.1.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. December 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 27.2.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/2020/12/tyti_2020_12_2021-01-28_tie_001_en.html