According to information released by Statistics Estonia on Tuesday morning, in the first quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, the employment rate 66.6 percent, and the labor force participation rate 71.4 percent.
Compared to the first quarter of 2017, economic activity of the population increased mainly due to an increase in unemployment but somewhat also due to an increase in employment.
In the first quarter of 2018, the estimated number of unemployed persons totaled 47,400, up 9,000 on year. The unemployment rate increased by 1.2 percent, which was not due to employed persons having lost their jobs but rather previously inactive persons beginning to seek work. The number of employed persons increased by 3,700, while the number of inactive persons decreased by 12,100. The number of inactive persons decreased primarily due to an increase in the number of those who were inactive due to ongoing studies or retirement age (7,200 and 5,100 fewer inactive persons, respectively). The number of the long-term unemployed decreased as well, but the number of those who had been seeking work for less than six months increased by 7,500. In the first quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate for Estonians was six percent and for non-Estonians 8.6 percent.
In the first quarter of 2018, the number of employed persons totaled 650,500 and the employment rate was 66.6 percent, which is 0.3 percent higher on year. The employment rate remained highest in Northern Estonia and lowest in Northeastern Estonia. The number of persons working part-time increased: the proportion of part-time workers in all employed persons was 12.1 percent, which is 1.5 percent higher on year. The number of part-time workers who would have preferred to work more stood at 8,300 in the first quarter of 2018. The proportion of the underemployed in all employed persons increased by 0.5 percent.
The labor force participation rate, i.e. the share of the total number of employed persons and those seeking work in the working-age population, was 71.4 percent. This indicator is still showing an upward trend, having increased by 1.2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Compared to a year earlier, activity increased by 3.3 percent in the 15-24 age group and by 2.1 percent in the 50-74 age group. In the most active age group (persons aged 25-49), the labor force participation rate remained stable, showing just a 0.1-percent decrease. The labor force participation rate increased both among women and men.
Editor: Aili Vahtla