Labour market data are essential for planning the state budget and local budgets, and also as the input for strategic documents of the administrative fields of ministries. “Estonian Action Plan for Growth and Jobs 2008–2011” serves as an example of this, on the EU level “European Employment Strategy” may be brought as an example.
Labour force participation rate at highest for 20 years
According to Statistics Estonia, in the 2nd quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate was 7%, the employment rate 66.9% and the labour force participation rate 72%. Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2016, the employment rate remained on the same level and the labour force participation rate reached its highest level for 20 years.
In the European Employment Strategy, a goal has been set to raise the employment rate of the population aged 20–64 to at least 75% by 2020. In Estonia, this indicator was higher than 75% in 2007–2008 but dropped during the economic crisis. Estonia reached the goal again in 2015 and in 2016, the employment rate of 20–64-year-olds was 76.6% (80.8% for males and 72.6% for females).
Year 2016 did not bring major changes in the labour market. Whereas in 2015 the employment rate of working-age population rose by over 2 percentage points, the unemployment rate declined to 6.2% and the labour force participation rate increased by 1.4 percentage points, in 2016 the employment rate rose by 0.4 and the activity rate by 1 percentage point. The unemployment rate was 6.8% in 2016. Nevertheless, Estonia has so far reached two targets of the Europe 2020 employment strategy: the employment rate of people aged 20–64 has exceeded 76% and approximately 45% of the new generation, i.e. 30–34-year-olds, have completed tertiary level education. The share of early leavers from the education system in 2016 was 10.9% (target 9.5%).
Employment indicators improved at the beginning of the year
According to Statistics Estonia, in the 1st quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate was 5.6%, the employment rate 66.3% and the labour force participation rate 70.2%. The labour force participation rate reached a record level in comparison with the 1st quarters of previous years.
No major changes in the labour market
According to Statistics Estonia, in 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.8%, the employment rate 65.6% and the labour force participation rate 70.4%. Within a year, 8,300 additional people entered the labour market, which mainly results from the decrease in the number of inactive persons. Compared to 2015, the number of inactive people in the labour market has decreased by 9,700 persons.
Reconciliation of work and family life: wishes, opportunities and reality
Many employees face the difficulties of the reconciliation of work and family life. According to the 2015 data of the Estonian Labour Force Survey, 38% of working respondents reported having at least one household member aged under 18. Most of such households (85%) also included the respondent’s spouse or partner, the majority of whom were also active in the labour market, meaning that an even greater share of the economically active needs to reconcile their work and family life. In Estonian society, the high level of labour market participation among women, including women with children, has been a long-term tradition and standard. Moreover, most women work full-time.
Young people entering the labour market: obstacles and ways of coping
Young people across Europe are experiencing increasing labour market exclusion either in terms of unemployment periods (Müller and Gangl 2003) or non-participation in employment, education or training (so-called NEET youth, i.e. youth Not in Education, Employment, or Training) (NEETs ... 2012). Even after finding a job, young people could often find themselves in a fragile situation, manifesting, for example, in temporary employment contracts or in precarious jobs (unstable jobs ranking lower in the hierarchy of positions) (Baranowska and Gebel 2010).
Ethnic gaps in labour market and effects of economic crisis
It has been argued that the economic crisis that started in the United States in 2007 was the worst crisis experienced after the Second World War (Elsby et al. 2010). The impact of the crisis reached Europe in 2008 (Gallie 2013). This crisis, which is still not completely over in some countries, was in several respects different from previous ones (Castles and Miller 2010; Tilly 2011).
Regional development in Estonia in 1991–2016
In its annual publication “Regional development in Estonia”, Statistics Estonia traditionally publishes an overview of the implementation of the current regional development strategy. Since the year 2016 is special in Estonian regional development from at least two aspects – it has been 25 years since Estonia restored its independence and the administrative reform has now been started in Estonia as part of the state reform – this collection examines Estonian regional development in terms of a longer period than usual. The reason for it is that, in 2016, the Ministry of Finance published the report “Monitoring Report 2014–2015 on the Implementation of the Estonian Regional Development Strategy for 2014–2020” and it is not sensible to repeat this analysis.
The number of persons active in the labour market continued increasing
According to Statistics Estonia, the unemployment rate was 7.5% and the employment rate was 66.5% in the 3rd quarter of 2016. The labour force participation rate increased by 1 percentage point compared to the same quarter of the previous year and the number of inactive working-age people is on a downtrend.