Ancient Estonian drug store offers cure for broken hearts

A pharmacy in the Estonian capital promises a cure for broken hearts: an almond-based concoction that’s been around since medieval times.

“Since the Middle Ages a special marzipan prescription has been prepared and sold here for the heart to relieve the pain of love,” said Ulle Noodapera, a pharmacist at the Raeapteek drug store which first opened for business in Tallinn’s old town square in 1422.

It is believed to be Europe’s oldest pharmacy, and has been in operation for 588 years.

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16 pct unemployed in the 4th Q

According to Statistics Estonia, the unemployment rate rose to 15.5% in the 4th quarter of 2009, the annual average unemployment rate was 13.8%. Almost one third of the unemployed have been unemployed for a year or more.

According to the data of the Estonian Labour Force Survey, in the 4th quarter of 2009 the estimated number of unemployed persons was 107,000, which is two times more than in the same quarter of 2008. The annual average number of unemployed persons was 95,000 and the unemployment rate 13.8% in 2009, which is the largest during the period after the restoration of independence in Estonia. In 2000, the year of the largest unemployment so far, the number of unemployed persons was 90,000 and the unemployment rate 13.6%.

In the previous year, the unemployment increased most in the 1st quarter. With every following quarter the growth of the unemployment slowed down. As the number of new unemployed persons continuously decreased, the number of unemployed persons who have been seeking for a job less than a year did not grow anymore in the last quarter. At the same time the number of long-term unemployed persons grew rapidly. In the 4th quarter, 33,000 unemployed had been looking for a job for 12 months or more.

Besides the growth of long-term unemployment, the number of discouraged persons also increased in the second half of the year. In the 3rd quarter, 11,000 persons had stopped seeking a job because they did not expect to find one. The number of discouraged persons was the same also in the 4th quarter. It is remarkable that the unemployment rate of non-Estonians is almost two times bigger than that of Estonians, but Estonians stop job seeking more easily. In 2009, half of the long-term unemployed were non-Estonians, but among discouraged persons only one fifth were non-Estonians.

Unemployed by duration of unemployment and discouraged persons, 2008–2009

Diagram: Unemployed by duration of unemployment and discouraged persons, 2008–2009


The number of employed persons decreased to 581,000 in the 4th quarter of the previous year. The annual average number of employed persons was 596,000 in 2009, which is 61,000 (9.2%) less than in 2008. The employment decreased in most of economic activities. The decrease was the biggest in construction (28%), other service activities (22%), manufacturing (16%), accommodation and food service activities (15%) and trade (10%).

The disappearances of jobs and long-term unemployment have been continuously deepening difficulties in coping of the unemployed people and their household members. In the 4th quarter of 2009 less than half of persons aged 15–74 estimated their coping as satisfactory. The share of people coping with some difficulties increased to 37% and the share of people coping with great difficulties increased to 16% (to 164,000). Due to the unemployment of parents also more and more children are in difficult economic situation. The number of children (less than 18 years of age) in the jobless households was 37,000 in the 4th quarter of 2009, which is over two times more than a year ago.

Unemployment rate is the share of the unemployed in the labour force (sum of employed and unemployed persons). The estimates are based on the data of the Labour Force Survey. Statistics Estonia has been conducting the Labour Force Survey since 1995 and every quarter 5,000 persons participate in it. The Labour Force Survey is carried out by statistical organisations in all European Union Member States on the basis of harmonised methodology.

Source: Statistics Estonia

Positive changes on the real estate market

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2009, 26,550 purchase-sale transactions of real estate with the total value of 18 billion kroons were notarised. If in the three first quarters of the year the number of purchase-sale transactions was smaller compared to the corresponding quarters of 2008, then in the 4th quarter a growth took place.

In the 4th quarter the number of purchase-sale transactions increased 13% compared to the 4th quarter of 2008 and 30% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009.

During the year the number of transactions decreased by 23% compared to 2008 and the total value of transactions decreased by 47%. In 2009, the average value of a purchase-sale transaction was 682,200 kroons, which is 31% smaller compared to the average value in 2008. The average value of a purchase-sale transaction has decreased remarkably (by about a half) in North-eastern Estonia (46%). In Western Estonia the average value of a purchase-sale transaction decreased by 39%, in Southern and Northern Estonia by almost a third in both regions. In Central Estonia the respective indicator did not change significantly. The number and total value of purchase-sale transactions with dwellings decreased the most (31% and 55%, respectively).

In the 4th quarter, 8,285 purchase-sale transactions with the total value of 5 billion kroons were notarised. The value of transactions increased 33% compared to the previous quarter and decreased 18% compared to the 4th quarter of 2008. The increase in the number and value of transactions was mainly caused by the double increase in the number and value of contracts of unimproved registered immovables.

In the 4th quarter, the average value of a purchase-sale transaction was 633,400 kroons, which was 2% bigger compared to the previous quarter and 27% smaller than in the 4th quarter of 2008.

Trend of the notarised purchase-sale transactions of real estate, 1st quarter 2000 – 4th quarter 2009

Diagram: Trend of the notarised purchase-sale transactions of real estate, 1st quarter 2000 – 4th quarter 2009


Since the 1st quarter of 2008 the data of the Estonian Land Board serve as a basis for the production of official statistics on the purchase-sale transactions of real estate. In previous years Statistics Estonia collected the data from notaries.

Source: Statistics Estonia