STATISTICS FINLAND on Tuesday reported that the trend of the employment rate climbed to 74.4 per cent in October.
The ranks of the employed, its latest labour force survey shows, grew by roughly 66,000 year-on-year to over 2.6 million – a significant increase, Pertti Taskinen, a senior actuary at Statistics Finland, described to STT.
The statistical bureau also adjusted its estimate of the trend for the previous month, raising it from 73.8 to 74.1 per cent.
The trend of the unemployment rate stayed at 6.9 per cent as the ranks of the unemployed decreased by roughly 2,000 to 162,000.
Jukka Appelqvist, the chief economist at Finland Chamber of Commerce, estimated that the results of the labour force survey do not reflect the sort of “softening” many have expected as the economic outlook continues to darken toward the end of the year.
“Employment growth is currently absolutely the bright spot for the Finnish economy and the strongest proof that we are not in a recession at least yet,” he stated in a press release. “The deterioration of the economic situation, however, is currently being reflected very slowly and moderately in the labour market partly because of the labour shortage that was prevalent at the starting point.”
The employment growth is a sign of the resilience of the labour market in the face of many other metrics that suggest a recession is on the horizon, interpreted Pasi Kuoppamäki, the chief economist at Danske Bank.
“The decline in the unemployment rate and low level of furloughs are also indicative of the strength of the labour market. The skills shortage in many sectors will probably inhibit the erosion of the labour market even if signs of recession were to become more pronounced,” he wrote in a quick analysis.
Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (SDP) welcomed the survey results as sign that the Finnish government has hit its employment target of 75 per cent.
Olli Kärkkäinen, a chief specialist at the Ministry of Finance, confirmed in a tweet that the target has been met when taking into account the roughly one-percentage-point downward adjustment in caused by a methodological change adopted last year.
Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday highlighted that although the employment rate has risen to an all-time high on record, the number of work hours has decreased marginally during this electoral term as a larger share of the employed are working on a part-time rather than full-time basis. The rate has also crept up as a consequence of the shrinking of the working-age population.
The employment rate stands for the proportion of 15–64-year-olds in employment.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT