Press release 22.4.2008

Employment and unemployment in March 2008

- Number of employed persons 29,000 higher than one year earlier
- Employment rate 69.0 per cent
- Unemployment rate 6.8 per cent, 180,000 unemployed
- 53,000 new vacancies at employment offices
- In the first quarter of 2008, average number of employed persons 59,000 higher than in the respective quarter of 2007

According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland, the number of employed persons in March was 2,475,000, or 29,000 higher than a year earlier. The numbers of wage and salary earners and self-employed persons went up. Among wage and salary earners, the number of permanent, full-time employees increased and that of fixed-term employees decreased. The number of employed persons went up in the Provinces of Southern Finland and Oulu and fell in the Province of Eastern Finland.

In March, the employment rate, that is, the proportion of the employed among persons aged 15 to 64, stood at 69.0 per cent, which was 0.3 percentage points higher than one year before. The employment rate of men was 69.8 per cent and that of women 68.2 per cent. Adjusted for seasonal and random variation, the trend of the employment rate was 70.5 per cent.

Changes in the labour force 3/2007 - 3/2008, thousand persons

  March 2008 March 2007 CHANGE, %
3/07 - 3/08
 Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey:
 Employed, total 2 475 2 446 1.2
 - wage and salary earners 2 154 2 141 0.6
 - self-employed and assisting family members 321 305 5.4
 Employment rate, % 69.0 68.7 0.32
 Unemployed1 180 203 -11.4
 Unemployment rate, % 6.8 7.7 -0.92
 Labour force, total 2 655 2 648 0.3
 Labour force participation rate, % 66.4 66.6 -0.22
 Economically inactive, total 1 342 1 326 1.2
       
 Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy
 Unemployed job seekers 200 222 -9.8
 - unemployed over a year 46 55 -16.9
 Employed with subsidised measures 36 40 -9.8
 In labour market training 34 36 -7.6
 In trainee and job alternation places 18 19 -2.8
 New vacancies at employment offices 53 60 -10.9
 Unrounded figures are used in the CHANGE column
 1Based on the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation
2percentage points

According to the Labour Force Survey, there were 180,000 unemployed in March 2008, i.e. 23,000 fewer than in March of the year before. At 6.8 per cent, the unemployment rate was 0.9 percentage points lower than one year earlier. The trend of the unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent in March.

The unemployment rate was lowest in the Province of Southern Finland, where it stood at 4.8 per cent, and highest, at 12.4 per cent, in the Province of Eastern Finland. In March 2008, the unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 was 17.1 per cent, which was 5.6 percentage points lower than in March of the year before. The trend of the unemployment rate among young people was 14.3 per cent.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the average number of employed persons in the first quarter of 2008was 2,474,000, which is 59,000 higher than in the respective time period of 2007. The number of wage and salary earners went up and that of self-employed persons remained nearly unchanged. The number of unemployed persons was 176,000, which is 22,000 fewer than in the January to March period of 2007.

At the end of March 2008, there were altogether 200,000 persons registered, in accordance with the Unemployment Security Act and the Labour Exchange Office Regulations, as unemployed job seekers at the employment offices. The number of unemployed job seekers was 22,000 lower than in March 2007. 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 7,000 lower than in March of the year before, and was 3.3 per cent of the labour force. There were 19,000 unemployed job seekers aged under 25 registered at the employment offices. Their number was 2,000 lower than in last year's March. During this March, 53,000 new vacancies were reported to the labour exchange offices, which is 7,000 fewer than in March 2007.

Differences between the Labour Force Survey and the Employment Service Statistics

The employment situation is monitored monthly both with the sample-based Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland and with the register-based Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The Employment Service 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 Employment Service Statistics are based on legislation and administrative regulations.

The Labour Force Survey and the Employment Service 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. For example, the 95 per cent confidence interval, or margin of error, for the unemployment rate in March is about ± 0.5 percentage points. The confidence interval for the number of unemployed persons in March is approximately ± 14,000 persons.

Inquiries: Statistics Finland: Mr Pekka Tossavainen +358 9 1734 3517, Mr Juha Martikainen +358 9 1734 3225, Mr Veli Rajaniemi +358 9 1734 3434, Information service/Labour Force Survey +358 9 1734 2030, mailto:tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi
Labour Force Survey home page: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/index_en.html

Ministry of Employment and the Economy: Mr Petri Syvänen, 358 10 60 48050,
Internet: http://www.tem.fi/employmentbulletin

Latest seasonally adjusted employment figures published by the EU