The employment rate is the highest in 15 years‏

According to Statistics Estonia, the unemployment rate in was 5.2% and the employment rate was 67.2% in the 3rd quarter of 2015. The employment and unemployment figures of the 3rd quarter resemble those of the economic boom.

In the 3rd quarter of 2015, compared the same quarter of the previous year, the unemployment rate decreased by 2.3 percentage points, which meant that the estimated number of unemployed persons reached 36,500 and the unemployment rate decreased to 5.2%. These figures resemble more and more the figures of the economic boom of 2006–2007 when the unemployment rate was 4–5% and the number of unemployed persons was less than 40,000.

The employment rate was 67.2% in the 3rd quarter and the number of employed persons was approximately 661,000. This was the highest quarterly employment rate since 2000. The number of employed persons was also smaller than in only a few quarters including the 3rd quarter of 2007 which was one of the peak years of the economic boom.

As the number of persons in working age has been decreasing year by year, the increased numbers of employed persons indicated an overall growth in activity in the labour market. In the 3rd quarter of 2015, the labour force participation rate was 70.9%, which was nearly 2 percentage points higher than in the 3rd quarter of 2014, and which, just like the employment rate, reached a record high since 2000.

In the 3rd quarter of 2015, compared to the same quarter of 2014, there was a significant decrease in the number of inactive persons which refers to the fact that the number of employed persons has grown because of both inactive persons entering the labour market and a decrease in unemployment. The number of long-term unemployed persons (seeking work for 12 months or longer) decreased by 10,000 persons compared to the 3rd quarter of 2014 and was approximately 13,000.

Labour market figures improved in all age groups, among males and females, and Estonians and non-Estonians.

Because the growth of GDP has been rather moderate in 2015,  the improved labour market figures cannot be the result of a big economic growth. The possible reasons include the impact of the employment register on employment and the postponement of seasonal work until the 3rd quarter. The economic growth of the second half of 2014 and the planned work ability reform could have also influenced the labour market to some extent.

Diagram: Unemployment rate and employment rate, 3rd quarter, 2000–2015

The unemployment rate is the share of the unemployed in the labour force (the sum of employed and unemployed persons). The employment rate is the share of the employed in the working-age population (aged 15–74). The labour force participation rate shows the share of the labour force in the 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

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