Statistics: Unemployment up 16,000 on year to 2020

Job seekers at an unemployment insurance fund (Töötukassa) office, reading advertisements
Job seekers at an unemployment insurance fund (Töötukassa) office, reading advertisements Source: ERR

Unemployment rose 16,000 to 47,900, or 6.8 percent, between 2019 and 2020, state agency Statistics Estonia reports, with short-term (less than half a year unemployed) joblessness making up the bulk of that figure.

Labor force participation rate stood at 71.6 percent, and the employment rate was 66.7 percent.

Katriin Põlluäär, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said the majority of unemployed had been without work less than six months.

Põlluäär said that: "The unemployment rate among the working-age population was highest in northeastern Estonia, and Ida-Viru county stood out the most. Unemployment was slightly lower in cities and towns compared with rural areas. Compared with 2019, the share of unemployed persons grew the most among clerical support workers, technicians and associate professionals."

The breakdown by ethnicity saw unemployment lower than average among Estonian speakers (5.8 percent) and higher among those whose native language is Russian, at 9.4 percent.

More men – 25,300 – were unemployed, than women (22,600), Statistics Estonia says.

The labour force participation rate did not change compared with 2019, the agency says, with inactive persons totalling 279,700. The main reasons cited for inactivity were retirement, studies and illness or disability.

Unemployment rate by region 2016-2020. Source: Statistics Estonia

Q4 2020 both labor force participation and unemployment higher than figure or whole year

In the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020), the labour force participation rate was slightly higher than that for the whole year at 72.4 percent, while the employment rate was 67 percent – i.e. practically the same for 2020 as a whole – though the unemployment rate was higher than the year as a whole, at 7.4 percent.

Across 2020 there were 656,600 employed persons, Statistics Estonia says.

Of these, 568,200 were full-time workers, while 88,300 worked part-time.

Compared with 2019, the employment rate fell by 1.7 percentage points, the agency says, with a rise of part-time employees (by 3,200) at the expense of a fall in full-timers (17,900).

The reasons for the shift towards part-time employment were due to personal or family reasons in about a third of the cases, Põlluäär said.

Employment in water and sewerage and postal and courier services rose proportionately in 2020, while it fell most in machinery and equipment maintenance and in forestry and logging.

More detailed data is here and (in Estonian) here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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