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Ministry puts July unemployment at 14.4%, state agency says 7.8%

At the end of July there were nearly 380,000 people out of work in Finland, according to the country's Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The state-owned data agency Statistics Finland pegged the number of unemployed at 214,000 for the same period. Different data sources are responsible for the discrepancy in the labour market figures.

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Close to 380,000 people in Finland were unemployed at the end of July, says the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM). The ministry says that the number of jobless persons increased by more than 12,000 between the end of June and the end of July this year.

The ministry data showed that the number of long-term unemployed at the end of July amounted to 127,000 – an increase of over 14,000 compared to the same period in 2015.

The ministry reported unemployment at 14.4 percent at the end of July, a decline of 0.1 percentage-point from last year.

On the supply side, the ministry’s figures reflected a continuing increase in the number of job vacancies up to the end of July, when they reached 67,800, some 6,600 less than one year earlier.

Statistics Finland: Unemployment at 7.8 percent in July

The data coming from the state agency Statistics Finland is markedly different from the picture painted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

According to the agency’s labour market survey, the number of unemployed persons at the end of July was 214,000 – some 18,000 fewer than at the same time last year. However Statistics Finland noted the margin of error for the unemployment statistic was +/- 18,000. It put the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent, down from 8.4 percent in July 2015.

The discrepancy between the data provided by Statistics Finland and the ministry is due largely to different data gathering methods.

The ministry draws directly on statistics relating to unemployed job seekers looking for work at its local job centres. Statistics Finland’s labour market survey meanwhile, is based on statistical samples.

Statistics Finland defines an unemployed person as someone who has actively looked for work in the past four weeks and is ready to accept any job offer that comes in the next two weeks.

On the other hand, TEM considers an individual to be unemployed if he or she has no job and is not engaged in any form of business activity. It also includes workers on full-time furlough among the unemployed.

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