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"Excellent Xmas news": PM savours 72% employment rate

Data suggest that the government reached its 72-percent employment target in November.

Juha Sipilä ja Petteri Orpo löivät kättä tänään edukunnan täysistunnossa.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (left) and Finance Minister Petteri Orpo. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Finland’s employment rate trend reached 72 percent at the end of November, according to the state statistics agency, reaching a target set by the Juha Sipilä administration.

According to Statistics Finland, the number of people reckoned as being in paid employment was over 2.5 million -- up 38,000 from the previous year.

The unemployment trend was 7.1 percent with 168,000 people out of work, down 22,000 from 2017. However the Ministry of Employment and the Economy recorded a total of 229,400 unemployed jobseekers at the end of November, some 41,900 fewer than the same time last year.

The employment rate trend refers to statistics cleansed of seasonal and periodic variations.

At the beginning of the year the employment rate was an even 71 percent, having passed 70 percent in October last year.

The rise in the employment rate to reach the government target was due to a reduction in the number of people outside the workforce, the agency said.

The employment rate represents the number of people counted as being in work compared to the size of the working age population.

The number of people calculated as being outside the workforce was 1.4 million. In addition to the unemployed, this figure includes others such as students.

PM celebrates on Twitter

The current administration led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä set an employment goal of 72 percent upon taking office. Sipilä took to Twitter on Friday to savour achieving the benchmark.

"Excellent Christmas news. The government’s employment goal of 72 percent has now been achieved. It is a breath of fresh air for today like I’ve promised. Happy Christmas everyone!" Sipilä tweeted.

The number of long-term unemployed came in at 66,300, falling by 25,500 since November 2017. The number of new open jobs advertised at employment offices during November was 50,200, 4,300 than the same time in 2017.

Altogether employment offices advertised 96,500 open positions, up by 11,100 on last year.

The government introduced a number of measures in a bid to boost employment to the desired target. They included a so-called "competitiveness pact" which rolled back certain worker benefits such as vacation pay and lengthened the working year and covered an estimated 87 percent of workers in Finland.

In addition, it implemented a highly-controversial activation model aimed at getting unemployed jobseekers off the unemployment record and into work, training or entrepreneurship.

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