Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has reminded that the national economy grew last year more than anyone dared predict one year earlier.
“After years of withering, Finland’s economy is now growing at a brisk rate. The latest estimates show that our gross domestic product has grown this year by more than three per cent. This turnaround has indeed been faster than anybody could have foreseen a year ago,” he stated in his New Year’s message on Sunday.
Sipilä said the upswing has brought about a number of positive changes, most importantly a healthy increase in the number of jobs. Statistics Finland’s latest data indicate that the ranks of the employed grew by 83,000 between November, 2016, and November, 2017.
“This is equivalent to the creation of 230 jobs every single day over the past year,” highlighted Sipilä.
The share of the employed of the working-age population, he added, similarly rose to a ten-year high of 70.4 per cent in November, partly as a result of a sharp decline in the number of unemployed job seekers. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has reported that the number of unemployed job seekers fell by 57,000 between November, 2016, and November, 2017.
Sipilä in his address also voiced his delight with the fact that jobs are being created and joblessness is on the decline all over Finland.
“Companies, large and small, are hiring new people. There must now be a focus on ensuring that companies can find the staff they need to fill their vacancies,” he said. “This transformation is also evident in the general mood. People are now more confident about the future than they have been for a long time.”
The economic turnabout is attributable to the joint efforts of all stakeholders, he viewed.
Sipilä assured that in spite of the positive developments, improving the employment situation remains a top priority for the government as employment is the most effective means to combat social exclusion and reduce inequality.
“The government wants to make sure that the fruits of growth can be enjoyed in all sectors of society. We have also sought to ensure that the burden of economic belt-tightening has been shared as fairly as possible. It is therefore pleasing to see that income disparities did not widen at all last year, according to the latest data.”
Sipilä stressed that the prevention of income inequality warrants special attention as the growth gathers pace.The business executives and decision makers who are responsible for setting the highest wages and fees, in particular, must show restraint: “Setting a good example is also important for enhancing competitiveness in the economy. Pay moderation will continue to be needed.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi