According to information published by Statistics Estonia on Wednesday, in the first quarter of 2019, the labor force participation rate in Estonia was 70.8 percent, the employment rate 67.5 percent and the unemployment rate 4.7 percent. While the labor force participation rate and employment rate remained steady on year, the unemployment rate decreased by 2.1 percentage points.
In the first quarter of 2019, the number of employed persons was 661,800. As expected, the employment rate was highest in Northern Estonia and lowest in Northeastern Estonia. The number of part-time employees continued to grow; in the first quarter of 2019, the number of part-time employees totaled 90,300, or 11,400 more than during the same quarter last year.
The estimated number of unemployed persons in the first quarter of 2019 was 32,400. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the number of unemployed persons dropped by 15,000. By age group, the unemployment rate was lowest among the population aged 25-49 (4.3 percent); the unemployment rate among the population aged 50-74, meanwhile, was 4.7 percent. These rates have remained largely at the same level compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
The unemployment rate of young people (aged 15-24), however, decreased by 4.5 percentage points to 7.4 percent. It could be expected that the unemployment rate of young people decreased due to an increase in employment, however the employment rate of young people declined as well. This may result from changes in the age structure of the population. Compared to 2018, the number of the population aged 15-19, who generally are enrolled in school, increased in the 15-24 age group, and the number of the population aged 20-24 decreased. This is another reason for the decreased employment rate.
In the first quarter of 2019, the unemployment rate for Estonians was 4.1 percent and for non-Estonians was 5.9 percent, decreasing on year for both groups. On year, the unemployment rate decreased by 3 percentage points among Estonian men and remained steady among Estonian women, while decreasing by 2.7 percentage points among non-Estonian men and 2.6 percentage points among non-Estonian women.
Compared to the first quarter of the previous year, the number of inactive persons on the labor market in the first quarter of 2019 increased by 7,900 to 286,800. The primary reasons for inactivity on the labor market were retirement (87,800), studies (73,800), and illness or disability (62,900). Inactivity on the labor market increased primarily at the expense of those inactive due to their studies.
Editor: Aili Vahtla