A man drinking coffee at home in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA


In April, the Finnish Open Unemployment Fund reported a significant increase in unemployment benefit payments, with costs rising to 48.1 million euros, marking a 32.1% increase from the same period last year. This surge reflects the ongoing challenges in Finland's economy, which remains in a recession.

The number of beneficiaries in April was 32,619, slightly more than in March and a substantial 30.5% increase compared to April of the previous year.

Notably, 43.7% of the beneficiaries were furloughed workers, a slight increase from the previous month, highlighting the persistent high rate of temporary layoffs since last fall.

This rise in unemployment benefits occurs amidst a backdrop of stable numbers in terms of recipients, indicating a continued high demand for financial support among the unemployed. The trend of increased unemployment benefit claims began reversing earlier this year after a gradual decline in payments last year, which had decreased steadily from March through July.

The number of days compensated in April also rose to 19 days, a rise from 17.9 days in March, marking an end to the decreasing trend observed from the start of the year. This adjustment aligns with a noticeable uptick in the total unemployment benefit applications received by the A-kassa, totaling 40,420 in April, over 500 more than in March and 29% more than in April last year.

The Finnish Open Unemployment Fund's handling times for applications improved in April, with initial claims processed on average within 8.6 days, down from 11.3 days in March. This efficiency is critical as Finland navigates through economic recovery phases and addresses the increasing demands on its unemployment insurance system.