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Norway — Unemployed up to 3.5% but still the lowest in Europe

05 May 2010

The latest Labour Market Survey published today by Statistics Norway (SSB) shows that in February, the unemployed constituted 3.5% of the labour force. This is an increase of +0.2% from November. Employment remained stable.

The decrease in full-time employees was made up of -14,000 women and -7,000 men. The level of part-time employees remained stable throughout the period.

From the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010 total employment was reduced by -20,000 persons, -16,000 of whom were women. The manufacturing industry has had the biggest decrease in employment. From the first quarter of 2009 to the corresponding quarter of 2010 the number of employees was reduced by -20,000, which constitutes 8% of the employees in manufacturing. There were only minor changes in the remaining industries.

The number of persons on temporary contracts remained stable throughout the period.

From the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010 there was a reduction of -14,000 persons reporting illness as reason for absence in the whole reference week. In the first quarter of 2010, a total of 89,000 persons reported illness as their reason for absence.

In the first quarter of 2010, the labour force participation rate (the sum of employees and unemployed) in Norway was 71.8%, down by -1.2% from the corresponding quarter in 2009. The decrease is particularly high among the young. Within the last year, all age groups under 30 have had their labour force participation reduced by -2 to -3 percentage points.

The share of long-term unemployed rose from 19% in the first quarter of 2009 to 32% in the first quarter of 2010.

To read the full Labour Market Survey in Norwegian language please click here