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Finland's employment rate trend returns to pre-pandemic level

There were 2.6 million people in employment in Finland during the month of July, an increase of 86,000 compared to the same period last year.

Työntekijä kävelee työpaikkansa varastossa.
Figures provided by both Statistics Finland and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment show marked improvements in Finland's employment situation. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Finland's employment rate trend climbed to 72.7 percent in July, the highest level since February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic began to impact the Finnish economy.

The effects led to the employment rate trend dropping to 69.7 percent in June last year, the lowest level throughout the pandemic.

However, the latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Finland revealed that there were about 86,000 more people — 45,000 men and 41,000 women — in employment in July compared to the same month last year, which brought Finland's employment figure to 2.6 million.

Patrizio Lainà, Chief Economist with the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK, told Yle News that the latest employment figures are "surprising" but welcome, and may lead to an increase in workers' salaries.

"An economic boom should normally mean that salaries pick up, but that has yet to be seen. In particular, salaries in those sectors that are experiencing labour shortages should rise," Lainà said. "Should the two percent inflation rate target be sustained into the future, we need salaries to develop at a higher pace than in the previous years."

Statistics Finland's data also revealed that the number of unemployed people in July dropped by around 5,000 compared to July 2020.

There were 99,000 unemployed men in July, and slightly more unemployed women (103,000). Unemployment rates dropped most significantly in the regions of Ostrobothnia (27 percent), Pirkanmaa (26 percent) and Southern Ostrobothnia (25 percent).

Ministry figures also show improving situation

Figures released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment also demonstrate that Finland's employment situation has noticeably improved on July 2020.

The ministry's data revealed that there were a total of 322,600 unemployed jobseekers registered with TE-offices across the country in July, which was 64,900 fewer than the same time a year ago.

However, that figure was 53,700 more than in July 2019, showing that the effects of the pandemic are still being felt in certain sectors.

The ministry also noted that the number of long-term unemployed — people who have been unemployed without interruption for at least a year — amounted to 113,900 in July, up 36,200 on the previous year.

Despite these figures, there were a total of 72,200 new vacancies reported during July, or an increase of 25,800 on July 2020, and the number of unfilled vacancies in July amounted to 136,000, up by 49,300 compared to one year ago.

The differences in the figures presented by Statistics Finland the ministry are explained by the fact that Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey has a stricter definition of being unemployed: a person is unemployed if he or she has actively sought employment during the preceding four weeks and is available for work over the coming two weeks.

The figures provided by Statistics Finland are internationally comparable and thus they are the official Finnish unemployment statistics.

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