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Second quarter unemployment rate lowest in decade at 5.1%

Road work.
Road work. Source: Rene Suurkaev/ERR

According to information released by Statistics Estonia on Tuesday, in the second quarter of 2018, the unemployment rate was 5.1%, the employment rate 68.2%, and the labour force participation rate 71.9%. The second quarter unemployment rate was the lowest recorded in a decade.

In the second quarter of 2018, the estimated number of unemployed persons was 35,800 and the unemployment rate was 5.1%, which is the lowest rate seen in ten years. Compared to the second quarter of 2017, when the number of unemployed persons was relatively high, there were 13,200 fewer unemployed persons and the unemployment rate was down 1.9%.

Although the total number of unemployed persons decreased rapidly, the number of very long-term unemployed increased slightly; 7,600 people had been seeking work for 24 months or longer. The number of discouraged persons, i.e. those who have lost hope of finding a job, remained stable at 5,000. The unemployment rate was 4.3% for Estonians and 6.7% for non-Estonians.

In the second quarter of 2018, there were 666,600 employed persons in Estonia, and the employment rate was 68.2%, up 1.3% on year. Compared to figures from the second quarter of 2017, the number of employed persons increased by 13,100, mainly due to part-time employment. 12.5% of those employed were employed part time, and 87.5% worked full time. 8,000 persons employed part time wanted to work more, i.e. were underemployed. The number of employees increased by 7,700 and the number of own-account workers by 5,000. Among the 25-54 age group, which is the most active age group in the labour market, the employment rate for men was 90.2% and for women 77.9%.

A total of 274,400 persons were inactive on the labour market, i.e. cannot or do not wish to work. Primary reasons for staying off the labour market remained retirement, accounting for 90,400 persons, education, accounting for 64,200 persons, and illness or disability, accounting for 58,200 persons. Slightly more people than a year ago were inactive due to illness or disability. The number of persons inactive due to retirement or studies stayed at the same level.

The labour force participation rate, i.e. the share of working-age population who are employed or looking for a job, was 71.9%, which is only 0.1% lower than a year ago, when the rate was at its highest level in 20 years. While there has been almost no change in the economic activity rate on year in the second quarter of 2018, the labour market situation has still changed somewhat: the number of persons seeking work has decreased, and the number of persons employed has increased. As expected, the population of Northern Estonia was the most economically active, with 77.1% of the working-age population there wishing and able to work, the employment rate totalling 74.6%, and the unemployment rate totalling 3.2%.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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