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Employment Ministry: Long term unemployment to rise in 2017

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is forecasting a decline in unemployment next year. However the competition for jobs will stiffen and the number of people who have been without work for more than one year will rise.

Turvaliivejä ja kypäröitä rakennustyömaan toimiston naulakossa.
Men may find job vacancies opening up on construction sites, the ministry said. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy says that more jobless people will end up among the ranks of the long-term unemployed. The Ministry has forecasted that next year the number of people who have been without work for more than one year will rise to nearly 140,000, representing close to 40 percent of all unemployed.

The ministry said that during the rest of the year the number of unemployed will rise by some 6,000, reaching 360,000 by the end of the year. However 2017 should see a change in the development of unemployment, and the number of people without jobs should fall by a few thousand to revert to levels seen in 2015.

According to the ministry’s analysis, this essentially means an eventual slowdown in the growth of joblessness. All the same the ministry said that anticipated painful economic growth will offer no great comfort to people in search of work.

However even as new job opportunities come online, the number of applicants competing for positions will increase, preventing any decline in the unemployment rate.

Ministry officials are forecasting that asylum seekers who arrived in Finland last year will add thousands more to already long job queues. In addition, they pointed out that tens of thousands of expatriates also have temporary jobs in Finland.

Longer stints without work

Against the backdrop of stiffer competition for vacancies, more jobseekers will find themselves among the ranks of the long-term unemployed. This group increased by 30,000 last year, the ministry said.

Meanwhile the proportion of people out of work for shorter periods of time has fallen. In March, people who had been out of work for less than three months accounted for just a quarter of jobless workers. By contrast, individuals out of work for more than a year made up one-third of all unemployed persons.

Unemployment and long-term joblessness affect men in particular. In March joblessness among men declined slightly for the first time in four years.

Glimmer of light in construction industry

There is light on the horizon for men though, as activity on construction sites is beginning to pick up, creating a demand for more workers. The ministry forecast said that continuing growth of renovation projects as well as a spike in home construction during this year and the next will create a total of 13,000 jobs. At the same time the decline in industrial activity is also beginning to level out.

There won’t be much change in the number of job opportunities in the service sector, however. The ministry said that this year it add just 1,000 new jobs, increasing to 6,000 next year.

According to the forecast, the employment situation among young people is expected to improve slightly, if only because the number of under-25 year-olds will decrease by 1,000 by the beginning of the next decade.

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