In the second quarter of 2010, overall unemployment fell for the first time in two years, Statistics Estonia reported. There were 128,000 unemployed individuals, or 18.6 percent of the workforce.
However, the figure is still huge compared to the 13.5 percent recorded in the same quarter last year.
Job losses have hit men worse than women. Two years ago, unemployment was around 4 percent for both sexes, but its subsequent growth affected men more. Unemployment among Estonian men reached 25.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010. In the second quarter, it dropped to 22.6 percent, remaining far above the 14.8 percent among women.
Although the number of newly registered cases has dropped lately, long-term unemployment is still on the rise.
As of the second quarter, 58,000 people had been seeking jobs for at least a year, raising the proportion of long-term unemployed to 46 percent. This includes 19,000 who have been looking for a job for two or more years. The number of those who had given up searching also increased from 7,000 to 9,000 since the first quarter of 2010.
The estimated total employment in the second quarter was 559,000, exceeding the first quarter by 5,000, or 0.9 percent.
The quarterly increase in employment is explained by the new availability of seasonal and casual jobs in the early summer. Manufacturing, hospitality, real estate and entertainment were the sectors that contributed most to the positive change. Compared to the second quarter of 2009, however, registered employment fell by 5.7 percent.