According to information released by Statistics Estonia on Monday morning, in the second quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate totaled seven, the employment rate 66.9 and the labor force participation rate 72 percent.
Compared to the second quarter of 2016, the employment rate remained at the same level, but the labor force participation rate reached its highest level in 20 years.
On year, the number of working-age persons in the second quarter of this year continued its slow decline, but the number of persons active in the labor market, i.e. the sum of employed and unemployed persons, remained the same at 702,000. The number of employed persons, meanwhile, decreased by 3,500 and the number of inactive persons by 6,200, amounting to 653,500 and 274,000, respectively.
The labor force participation rate increased in the second quarter primarily due to an increase in the number of unemployed persons, one of the reasons for which was people who had previously been inactive becoming active. As a result of the nationwide work ability reform, the number of people inactive due to illness or injury has decreased in recent years. Compared to the previous quarter, the number of persons inactive due to illness or injury in the second quarter of this year decreased by 5,700.
In the past 10 years, the number of persons inactive due to ongoing studies has shown a steady decline, reflecting not a decline in the number of students but an increasing number of people studying and working at the same time. The continued decline in the number of inactive older persons, i.e. people 50-74 years in age, likewise played a part in the highest labor force participation rate in 20 years. The labor force participation rate for older persons was 60.7 and the unemployment 5.1 percent.
Compared to the first quarter of 2017, when the number of unemployed persons was relatively small, the number of unemployed persons increased in the second quarter by 10,600. Compared to the same period last year, the change was smaller — the number of unemployed persons increased by 3,700, reaching 49,000. The unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017, seven percent in the second quarter, and 6.5 percent in the second quarter of last year. In the second quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate was five percent for Estonians and 11 percent for non-Estonians.
As expected, the employment rate was highest among men between the ages of 25-49, at 88 percent — one percent less than during the same quarter last year. The increase in the employment rate of women in the same age group was less than one percent, totaling 77.3 pecent in the second quarter of this year.
The share of full-time and part-time employment at the primary job and the share of underemployment has changed less than 0.5 percent in one year. In the second quarter of 2017, 5,000 persons in part-time employment would have preferred to work more than they did, i.e. were underemployed.
Editor: Aili Vahtla