Statistics: Unemployment in Estonia over 50,000 in Q2 2023

Construction workers on scaffolding. Photo is illustrative.
Construction workers on scaffolding. Photo is illustrative. Source: Rene Suurkaev/ERR

Unemployment rose by 8,500 on year to the second quarter of 2023 (Q2 2023), state agency Statistics Estonia reports. The rate of unemployment stood at 6.7 percent in Q2 2023, and there were over 50,000 registered jobless in Estonia April-June.

The employment rate in the same quarter stood at 69.2 percent, while the labor force participation rate was 74.2 percent, the agency says.


The unemployment rate comprises the share of the unemployed in the labor force.

Tea Vassiljeva, analyst at Statistics Estonia, noted that unemployment indicators have now started an upward trend.

She said: "In the second quarter, there were 50,200 unemployed persons, which is 8,500 more than in the same quarter last year and 11,100 more than in the first quarter of this year."

Vassiljeva added that the biggest change has taken place in female unemployment. "There were 23,500 unemployed men in Q2 203 – 200 fewer than in Q2 2022. However, the number of unemployed women totaled 26,700, which is 8,700 up on last year," Vassiljeva went on.

Between first and second quarters 2023, the rise in unemployment was also more marked among women, up by 8,000 compared with a rise of 3,100 for men.

However, age demographic also plays a role.

"The unemployment rate was 6.3 percent for males and 7.1 percent for females. Among men, the unemployment rate grew mainly with age – in the age group 50–74, male unemployment (8.5 percent) is significantly higher than female unemployment (5.6 percent)," Vassiljeva added.

Unemployment in Estonia by gender. Source: Statistics Estonia

Employed persons

The employment rate is the share of the employed in the population aged 15–74.

The number of employed persons in Estonia stood at 694,800 in Q2 2023.

It grew by 21,300 compared with the second quarter of 2022, but there was a slight fall compared with the first quarter of this year.

"The numbers of men and women in employment were almost the same – 347,500 and 347,300, respectively. Since the size of the working-age population in 2023 has risen compared with the beginning of last year, the employment rate remained relatively stable at 69.2 percent, despite the rise in the number of employed persons," Tea Vassiljeva said.

Employment, unemployment and inactivity in Estonia. Source: Statistics Estonia

Labor force participation rate

The labor force participation rate shows the share of the labor force in the population aged 15-74.

Statistics Estonia also reported a fall in the number of inactive persons and a rise in the labor force participation rate, i.e. the share of 15-74-year-olds who wish and are able to work (total of employed and unemployed persons).

Whereas in Q2 2022, 73.1 percent of the working-age population were employed or seeking employment, the labor force participation rate in Q2 2023 stood at 74.2 percent – the highest figure posted for recent years, Statistics Estonia says.

The agency says that in Q2 2023 there were 259,000 economically inactive persons, a fall of 4,200 on year, and of 9,600 between the first and second quarters of this year.

The Labor Force Survey statistics cited above include permanent residents of Estonia who live or plan to live in Estonia for at least a year or more.

The number of temporarily protected Ukrainian refugees included in the Labor Force Survey is too small to give estimate.

More information about Ukrainians in the Estonian labor market can be found here.

More detailed information is also available from Statistics Estonia here, and (in Estonian) from the Ministry of Social Affairs here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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