In December 2016, the pollster Taloustutkimus asked 1,100 employed Finns if they feel their job is in danger. 84 percent answered that they are very or somewhat sure of keeping their position in their current place of work, a clear improvement on last’s year 77 percent finding.
Faith in retaining their employment was highest in western Finland, where 87 percent of respondents said they were confident. This follows on good news from the region in the form of major shipyard orders at Meyer Werft Turku and the promise of 1,000 new jobs at Valmet Automotive’s manufacturing plant in Uusikaupunki.
Turku-based entrepreneur Jan Blomqvist says some kind of economic downturn has been apparent for close to a decade already, but there are clear signs that things are now perking up.
“Good news from the shipyards, Uusikaupunki and Sandvik are all becoming visible in Turku anyway. Yes, I believe the economy is picking up slowly,” he said.
The Swedish engineering company Sandvik’s branch in Finland cancelled plans to shut down its mining truck manufacturing plant in Turku, announcing at the end of last year that it would instead double its production there.
Ministry: Unemployment figures down
Heikki Räisänen, research director for the Ministry of Labour, says the poll’s results are in line with the general economic and employment trends in Finland.
“I would interpret these poll results to indicate that people have higher expectations of the economy and the labour market, and this is a very positive development,” he says.
Räisänen says it also looks as if businesses share this optimism.
The number of unemployed people seeking work began to decline in the summer 2016, as employment figures are looking up, due to an increase in part-time work.
And although youth unemployment has been a talking point of late, the Taloustutkimus poll indicates that under-24s feel more confident about keeping their jobs than middle-aged respondents.
Sipilä’s 72 percent employment goal still a long way off
One of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's goals is to achieve a 72 percent employment rate by the year 2021. The ministry’s Räisänen says it is still possible, but not without new employment initiatives to boost the situation even further.
“It can’t be dismissed – if things continue to develop well – but at this point, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”
In November 2016, Statistics Finland reported the official employment rate for people aged 15 to 64 in Finland at 67.7 percent.
The Taloustutkimus poll was carried out from December 7 to 29 last year, reaching 1,100 employed people from the 2,009 contacted. The margin of error was 2.5 percent in either direction.