The number of people in employment in January this year was down by 61,000 compared to January 2020, according to preliminary figures released by Statistics Finland.
Finland’s employment rate now stands at 69.9 percent, which is two percentage points lower than a year ago.
The data agency’s Labour Force Survey also revealed that Finland’s unemployment figure in January reached 235,000, which equates to 41,000 more than this time last year. The unemployment rate was 1.6 percentage points higher than January 2020, at 8.7 percent.
In a press release in response to the latest employment figures, Chief Economist with the Finland Chamber of Commerce Mauri Kotamäki called on the government to ease the uncertainty in the Finnish economy created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"The government should urgently outline compensation for losses caused by the coronavirus shutdown in essential industries such as the hospitality and restaurant industries. It is up to the government to dispel uncertainty as much as possible," Kotamäki wrote.
Ministry posts different figures
Meanwhile, a separate set of statistics released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment found that there were 332,800 unemployed jobseekers registered with TE offices around the country at the end of January.
This figure is 81,200 higher than in January 2020, but it is 24,000 less than were registered one month earlier, in December 2020.
The differences between the figures provided by the ministry and those of Statistics Finland can be explained by how the two bodies define an unemployed person.
In the ministry’s definition, an unemployed person is someone who does not have an employment contract or business activity. However, according to Statistics Finland's definition, an unemployed person is anyone who has been actively applying for jobs in the last month and is ready to receive a job offer within the next two weeks.
Statistics Finland produces Finland's official and internationally-comparable unemployment figures.
Long-term unemployment rising
The ministry’s data further revealed that the number of long-term unemployed people had increased by about 50 percent compared to the previous year, with a total of 93,000 long-term unemployed in January this year.
"Worst of all, long-term unemployment is up by more than 30,000 people. This trend is not surprising, but this part of unemployment is the most unfortunate in the context of recessions," Kotamäki wrote.
Long-term unemployed refers to people who have been out of work for one year or more.
There were also more than 40,000 unemployed jobseekers under the age of 25, an increase of nearly 10,000 from the corresponding period last year.