Unemployment slightly higher in 2016
At the end of December 2016, 4.5% of Estonia’s working population were registered as unemployed, the Unemployment Insurance Fund reported. This represented a 0.2% decrease compared to the end of 2015, although on the annual average 2016’s numbers were slightly higher.
The previous government’s work ability reform was expected to drive up unemployment numbers, as according to the changed system people with a reduced ability to work are now within the competency of the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
At the same time, compared to December 2015, the total number of unemployed had decreased by 4.5% as well, the fund reported.
The fund had helped companies hire 54,000 people over the last year, which was 30% more than in 2015, CEO Meelis Paavel said.
While in 2015 unemployment had increased, there now was a downward trend, the fund stated. Still, due to the reform, in 2016 the eventual number of all those registered with the fund had been some 3% above the average of the previous year.
At the end of 2016 the largest share of unemployed was registered in unskilled labor (22%), skilled and manual labor (18%), and services and sales (17%).
In December the Unemployment Insurance Fund paid out benefits to 10,239 people, or 32% of the unemployed registered with the fund that month. The average benefit paid was €433, altogether €3.8m were paid out.
In total €48.5m in insurance benefits were paid out in 2016, along with €9.9m in direct support.