One third of Estonian immigrants don’t understand the native language

One third of Estonian residents with a migrant background aged 15-74 do not speak the official language of the country, the share of non-Estonian-speakers being the largest among citizens of Russia.

Of the immigrant population 33 percent have no knowledge of Estonian whatsoever, 18.7 percent know enough to understand daily discourse, 16.5 percent are able to converse on daily topics, 24.3 percent can speak and write Estonian, and for 7.5 percent Estonian is their mother tongue or the language they speak at home.

According to Siim Krusell, chief analyst of Statistics Estonia, there were 797,800 ethnic Estonians and 226,500 immigrants as of 2012. Of the latter, 91,000 had Estonian citizenship. Nationals of other countries number 134,700, including 66,100 Russian citizens, and persons with undefined citizenship number 59,100.

Read more from BBN

Advertisements

Secretive Swede becomes Estonia’s largest forest owner

Swedish businessman Jonas Wahlström is now the largest private forest owner in Estonia and now owns about 23,000 hectares of land, mainly forest, in Estonia, writes Äripäev.

Wahlström has been buying land in Estonia for about a decade, but is extremely secretive about his business and does not say what is his purpose.

Wahlström who is known in Sweden as a supersecretive businessmen and now lives in an undisclosed location in Southern Europe told Dagens Industri that he forecast a rapid rise in the price of land and forest. „It was in 1987 and since then I have been investing in land,” he said.

Metsnik is now the largest landowner on Saaremaa island. One reason why local residents of Saaremaa are worried is the fact that in 2010 the local newspaper Saare Hääl wrote that Swedish company Ekovind AB planned to put up wind farms on forest and agricultural land of Metsnik.

Read more from BBN

Unemployment decreased last year

According to Statistics Estonia, the unemployment rate was 10.2% in 2012 and 9.3% in the 4th quarter. Unemployment decreased compared to the previous year and the 4th quarter of the previous year. Long-term unemployment also decreased.

According to the data of the Labour Force Survey, the estimated number of unemployed persons was 64,000 in the 4th quarter of 2012, decreasing by 4,000 persons compared to the 3rd quarter. The unemployment rate in the 4th quarter was smaller than in the previous quarter as well as in the same quarter of the previous year (when the unemployment rate was 9.7% and 11.4%, respectively).

In 2012, the annual average unemployment rate was the lowest of the last four years. It was 12.5% in 2011. The annual average number of unemployed persons decreased by 16,000 from 87,000 in 2011. There was also a slight decrease in the unemployment rate of young people (aged 15–24) – from 22.3% in 2011 down to 20.9% in 2012.

Long-term unemployment has decreased as well. The long-term unemployed (i.e. people who had been looking for a job for one year or more) numbered 38,000 in 2012, which is 11,000 less than in the previous year. The number of the very long-term unemployed (i.e. people who had been looking for a job for two years or more) started to decline in mid-2011, reaching 24,000 in 2012. The share of the long-term unemployed among the unemployed was 54%, which is smaller than in the 2011 (57%). At the same time, the share of the very long-term unemployed among the unemployed increased by one percentage point to 33% in 2012.

The employment rate of the population aged 15–74 was 61.0% in the 4th quarter of 2012, which is 0.9 percentage points lower than in the 3rd quarter, but 1.3 percentage points higher than in the 4th quarter of 2011. In the 4th quarter of 2012, the estimated number of employed persons was 625,000, which is 10,000 or 1.7% more compared to the same quarter of the previous year. In 2012, the annual average number of employed persons was 624,000, which is 15,000 or 2.5% more than in the previous year. The growth in employment was most of all influenced by an increase in the number of persons employed in transportation and storage, information and communication, education, and administrative and support service activities. In 2012, there was a slight decrease in the number of persons employed in construction and manufacturing, which used to be the main drivers of employment growth.

In 2012, employment increased mainly due to decreased unemployment. The share of economically inactive persons (students, retired persons, homemakers, discouraged persons, etc.) in the population aged 15–74 was 32%, i.e. 329,000 persons, which is 5,000 less than in 2011. Among inactive persons, the number of pension-aged persons and persons inactive due to studies decreased the most. Discouraged persons (i.e. persons who have stopped seeking a job) numbered 7,000 in 2012, which is 3,000 less than in the previous year.

In the calculation of the estimates for 2012, the estimated number of population published by Statistics Estonia as at 1 January 2012 has been used to assure comparability in time series; this population figure has not been adjusted with the data of the 2011 Population and Housing Census. Labour market time series adjusted with the number of population of the 2011 Population and Housing Census will be published in the 1st quarter of 2014.

Unemployment rate is the share of the unemployed in the labour force (the sum of employed and unemployed persons). Employment rate is the share of the employed in the working-age population (aged 15–74). 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 the survey. The Labour Force Survey is carried out by statistical organisations in all the European Union Member States on the basis of a harmonised methodology.

Source: Statistics Estonia
See graph here

Tallinn sucking in residents from Northeast Estonia

More than 4,000 people became residents of Tallinn in January alone, mainly as a result of domestic migration from Northeast Estonia, writes Postimees.

Yevgeni Solovjov, Mayor of Kohtla-Järve in Northeast Estonia, says that Tallinn is attracting residents of other counties thanks to its benefits including the free public transport.

“We expected it so it’s no surprise. We don’t have enough jobs in our county and they are moving elsewhere for work,” said Solovjov, adding that while, before, people remained residents of their home counties also when they were working elsewhere, but they are now re-registering themselves in order to use free public transport in Tallinn.

Haldo Oravas, governor of Viimsi municipality, said that Viimsi municipality is offering tax-exemption from land tax. Homeowners in Viimsi who have a property of 1,200 sqm can save between 350 and 400 euros a year.

“I would not be surprised if there are families where the father is registered in Viimsi to get the land tax benefit and the mother is registered now in Tallinn to get free public transport,” he said.

Read more from BBN

Latvian government agrees on a re-emigration plan

The Latvian government has passed a re-emigration plan which aims to bring back some of the Latvians who left the country before and during the recession, news2biz LATVIA writes in its recent issue.

One of the objectives of the plan is to bring more people to the labour market now that the Latvian economy is showing solid growth and the unemployment is turning to a shortage of workers – an increasing number of businesses already reports trouble finding new workers, and the Ministry of Economy estimates that there could be 120,000 vacancies in Latvia by 2030.

Some 213,000 people have left Latvia in 2000-2011, a notable number for a country that has just about 1.3m working-age residents. Altogether, the Latvian diaspora abroad could reach 350,000-400,000 people.

Read more from BBN

2,8 million hotel tourists last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2012, 2.8 million domestic and foreign tourists stayed in Estonian accommodation establishments, which is 4% more than the year earlier. Compared to 2011, the number of foreign tourists increased by 4% and the number of domestic tourists by 5%.

As in previous years, foreign tourists accounted for two thirds of the total number of tourists. The neighbouring countries Finland, Russia and Latvia are the largest tourism partner countries of Estonia – 64% of all foreign tourists that used the services of accommodation establishments arrived from those countries. Compared to 2011, the number of tourists arriving from Russia and Latvia increased by 31% and 18%, respectively. The number of tourists from Finland, which showed a downward trend in most months of the year, fell 1% (by 11,000 tourists) in 2012 as a whole. Fewer tourists than in 2011 arrived from Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway, Italy and Poland. At the same time, the number of tourists from Asian and American countries and Australia staying in accommodation establishments increased compared to 2011.

In 2012, 966,000 domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which is 5% more than in 2011 and 2% more than in 2008, the record year of domestic tourism. Domestic tourists preferred the accommodation establishments of Southern Estonia, with 30% of all accommodated domestic tourists staying there; and also the accommodation establishments of Western and Northern Estonia, with each accounting for 26% of domestic tourists. The number of domestic tourists increased the most (11%) in the accommodation establishments of Northern Estonia.

In December, 131,000 foreign and 78,000 domestic tourists stayed in accommodation establishments, which is respectively 5% and 9% more than in December 2011. 756 accommodation establishments with 17,000 rooms and 38,000 bed-places were available for tourists. The room occupancy rate was 40% and the bed occupancy rate was 34%. The average cost of a guest night in an accommodation establishment was 31 euros and it was one euro more expensive than in December 2011.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Real estate market has enliven

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2012, 36,176 purchase-sale transactions of real estate in the total value of 1.7 billion euros were notarised. In 2012, the number of transactions increased by 12% compared to 2011 and the total value of transactions increased by 13%.

Compared to the real estate slump in 2009, the number of transactions increased by 38%, while compared to the boom year 2006, transaction activity is still 40% below the level of that year. In 2012, the average value of a purchase-sale transaction was 47,739 euros, which is 1% bigger than in 2011. The growth of the number of transactions was greatly due to an increase in the number of transactions with apartments.

Transactions with apartments accounted for half of all purchase-sale transactions. The increase in the number of transactions with apartments was affected by the new development market and also by the housing loans sector, as low interest rates have kept the real estate market active. The number of transactions with apartments increased by 17% compared to 2011, while the total value of transactions with apartments increased by more than a quarter. There was a more moderate increase – 8% – in the average price per square metre of an apartment and in the average value of a transaction with an apartment.

Transactions with unimproved registered immovables accounted for 31% and transactions with registered immovables with buildings for 18% of all purchase-sale transactions of real estate. Compared to 2011, the average value of a transaction with an unimproved registered immovable increased 7%, while the average value of a transaction with a registered immovable with buildings decreased 5%.

Compared to 2011, the average value of a purchase-sale transaction with an apartment increased the most in Western Estonia (24%). The increase was 12% in North-Eastern Estonia, 8% in Southern Estonia and 7% in Northern Estonia. In Central Estonia the average value of a purchase-sale transaction with an apartment increased 6%.

9,921 purchase-sale transactions of real estate were notarised in Tallinn, which is 14% more than in 2011. The number of notarised transactions was 884 in Pärnu, which is 26% more than in 2011; and 1,938 in Tartu, which is 25% more than in 2011.

In 2012 the average price per square metre of an apartment in a purchase-sale transaction was 760 euros, which is 8% more than in 2011. The price per square metre increased 7% in Tallinn, 8% in Tartu and 2% in Pärnu.

Source: Statistics Estonia
See graph here