Registered Unemployment Back Above 50,000 Mark
The number of people registered as unemployed throughout the nation grew by 256 this week, pushing the total above the symbolic figure of 50,000 for the first time since August.
The ranks of those signed up to receive Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits have been on a growth trajectory since October, when they numbered under 47,000. Until then, the figure had been steadily declining from the annual high of 67,276 seen in February 2011.
The latest tally, 50,011, represents 7.7 percent of the working-age population, according to Unemployment Insurance Fund statistics. Registered unemployment continues to be highest in Ida-Viru County, where 13.6 percent of the workforce is receiving benefits, and lowest in Tartu County, where it comes in at 5.1 percent.
It should be noted that registered unemployment differs from the employment figures provided by Statistics Estonia, which are based on questionnaires.
Statistics Estonia's latest data, published February 14, shows that 79,000 people in the country were jobless in the fourth quarter of 2011, putting the unemployment rate at 11.4 percent - a 0.1 percent rise from the previous quarter. The average unemployment rate for the year was 12.5 percent.