Activity in the labour market continued to increase

news release no 54

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 1st quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate was 6.8%, the employment rate 66.6% and the labour force participation rate 71.4%. Compared to the 1st quarter of 2017, economic activity of the population increased mainly due to an increase in unemployment but somewhat also due to an increase in employment.

In the 1st quarter of 2018, the estimated number of unemployed persons was 47,400, which is 9,000 more than in the 1st quarter of 2017. The unemployment rate increased by 1.2 percentage points, which was not due to the employed persons having lost their jobs but because previously inactive persons started seeking work. The number of employed persons increased by 3,700 and the number of inactive persons decreased by 12,100. The number of inactive persons decreased primarily due to an increase in the number of those who were inactive due to ongoing studies or retirement age (respectively 7,200 and 5,100 fewer inactive persons). The number of the long-term unemployed decreased also, but the number of those who had been seeking work for less than 6 months increased by 7,500. In the 1st quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate for Estonians was 6% and for non-Estonians 8.6%.

In the 1st quarter of 2018, the number of employed persons was 650,500 and the employment rate was 66.6%, which is 0.3 percentage points higher than a year ago in the same quarter. The employment rate continued to be the highest in Northern Estonia and the lowest in Northeastern Estonia. The number of persons working part-time increased: the proportion of part-time workers in all employed persons was 12.1%, which is 1.5 percentage points higher than in the previous year. The number of part-time workers who would have preferred to work more stood at 8,300 in the 1st quarter of 2018. The proportion of the underemployed in all employed persons increased by 0.5 percentage points.

The labour force participation rate (the share of the total number of employed persons and those seeking work in the working-age population) was 71.4%. This indicator is still showing an upward trend, having increased by 1.2 percentage points compared to the 1st quarter of 2017. Compared to a year earlier, activity increased by 3.3 percentage points in the 15–24 age group and by 2.1 percentage points in the 50–74 age group. In the most active age group (persons aged 25–49), labour force participation rate was stable (0.1 percentage point decrease). Labour force participation rate increased both among women and men.

Labour force participation rate by sex and age group, 1st quarter, 2009 ̶ 2018

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. In Estonia, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Social Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting the statistical activity.

For further information:

Ülle Vannas
Social Statistics and Analysis Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9292

More detailed data have been published in the statistical database (employed persons, inactive persons, employees, unemployed persons, general data on the labour market).