Experts foresee IT sector slowdown

Computer. Source: Pixabay

Estonia's IT sector is slowing down and the trend is set to continue, experts say. Data released on Wednesday shows unemployment across all businesses has risen 23 percent on-year.

Industry, especially wood and furniture, have been the hardest hit by the energy crisis, the Bank of Estonia said. The real estate and IT sectors have also become more volatile.

CV Online marketing manager Karla Oder said the number of jobs on offer in these areas has fallen considerably.

Bank of Estonia economist Orsolya Soosaar said the technology sector's previous rapid growth has slowed down and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

"Firms that have raised money from investors are now under pressure to achieve profitability more quickly and one way to do this is to optimize costs, which in the case of such firms also means labor costs," she told Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Bank of Estonia economist Orsolya Soosaar. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Oder said, looking at job websites, the technology sector boom has subsided.

"If we look at the overall number of job vacancies in information technology, it is still down compared to last year. There has been a decline in volume for companies that had very big growth plans, but now those growth plans have been pulled back a bit," she told AK.

Yesterday, electric bike manufacturers Ampler Bikes and Kõu Mobility announced a merger with hopes to return to profitability.

Kõu Mobility's personnel manager Kertu Karu said the company laid off nine workers last year.

"The only place where we have reduced is in production, which is largely dependent on our customers' demand, which was down a little at the beginning of the year. But in other areas, fortunately, we haven't had to do that," said Karu.

Ampler electric bike. Source: Ampler Bikes

In January, 54,700 people were registered as unemployed compared to 44,500 a year ago, data from Statistics Estonia released this week shows.

This has partly been caused by the arrival of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. This group makes up 12 percent of those unemployed and if removed from official statistics, then registered unemployed would fall to 48,000.

Peak unemployment was in 2021 during the coronavirus pandemic which has not been surpassed.

Soosaar said: "As we know, Estonia has been hit by another crisis. We are talking about a big rise in energy prices, then a war crisis. And this had an impact on the Estonian economy, which spilled over into the labor market in the second half of the year."


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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