There were 380 000 unemployed persons aged 15-74 during the first quarter 2009. The relative unemployment figure was 7.8 percent, which is an increase of 1.5 percentage points compared to the corresponding quarter last year. Unemployment among youths aged 15-24 increased by 3.9 percentage points, to 24.4 percent.
Theme sections form the news from the Labour Force Survey quarterly reports. The theme for this quarter is unemployment among young persons.
The number of persons employed decreased for the first time since 2004
During the first quarter there were 4 466 000 employed persons. This is a decrease by 54 000 persons, of which 44 000 were men . This is the first time since the second quarter 2004 that the number of employed went down in comparison to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
The industries Manufacture, mining and quarrying, energy and environment and Construction decreased their numbers of employed by 41 000 and 14 000, respectively. In contrast the number of employed increased by 18 000 persons in the Financial intermediation and related services, business services industry.
The number of temporarily employed decreased by 60 000 persons compared to the first quarter 2008. The decrease is evenly distributed between the sexes and affects many age groups. The downturn for the temporarily employed has gone on since the start of 2008. The change in the number of permanently employed is not statistically significant. This was the first time since the end of 2006 that an increase in the number of permanently employed could not be shown.
3 915 000 of the employed aged 15-74 were at work while 551 000 persons were absent during the entire reference week. The number of persons at work decreased by 74 000 persons, of which 66 000 were men.
149 000 more persons were not at work
The group of persons not at work consists of the subgroups employed and absent during entire reference week, unemployed and persons not in the labour force. The number of persons aged 15-74 who were not at work amounted to 3 011 000 persons during the first quarter 2009. This is an increase of 149 000 persons compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The increase mainly affected men.
The increase in the number of persons not at work is mainly due to the upturn in the number of unemployed and the number of persons not in the labour force (such as pensioners and full-time students who have not sought work). The unemployed increased by 78 000 to 380 000 persons, while the number outside the labour force increased by 50 000 to 2 080 000 persons. The number of employed that were absent during the entire reference week increased by 20 000 to 551 000 persons.
Compared to one year ago unemployment has increased for both men and women. Among men aged 15-74 the relative unemployment figure was 8.0 percent during the first quarter 2009, an increase of 2.0 percentage points. Women of the same age had an unemployment of 7.7 percent, which corresponds to an increase of 1.1 percentage points.
Every fourth unemployed person aged 15-74 had long-term unemployment, which means that they have had a successive period of unemployment for more than 26 weeks. This means that 90 000 persons were long-term unemployed, of which 48 000 were men and 42 000 were women.
Theme - Unemployment among young persons
Unemployment increased among young persons
There were 142 000 young persons aged 15-24 who were unemployed during the first quarter 2009, which corresponds to a relative unemployment of 24.4 percent. Of the unemployed young persons there were 73 000 men and 69 000 women. Thus, unemployment amounted to 24.9 percent among young men and 23.9 percent among young women. Both the number and percentage of unemployed increased compared to the corresponding quarter last year.
Unemployment was highest among those aged 15-19. In this age group 63 000 persons were unemployed, which corresponds to a relative unemployment of 35.7 percent. The percentage of unemployed among men increased while the change among women was not statistically significant.
The number of unemployed persons increased by 20 000 to 79 000 persons in the age group 20-24. The percentage of unemployed also increased and amounted to 19.5 percent. In age group 20-24 the number of and percentage of unemployed among both sexes increased compared to the first quarter 2008.
Almost every other unemployed person began full-time studies
During the first quarter 64 000, or 45 percent, of the unemployed young persons aged 15-24 engaged in full-time studies. In age group 15-19 it was nearly 70 percent of the unemployed young persons that were full-time students compared to over 25 percent of the unemployed persons aged 20-24. There are more women than men who study full time.
The Labour Force Survey collects information about what persons mainly feel it is that they do for a living. During the first quarter 88 percent of the unemployed, aged 15-24 regarded themselves primarily as full-time students. More than 10 percent regarded themselves mainly as job seekers. 95 percent of the full-time student young persons aged 15-19 regarded themselves primarily as students. The corresponding percentage was 73 percent among the young persons aged 20-24.
Unemployment periods are shorter for young persons than older persons
The length of unemployment periods increase with the age of the unemployed person. During the first quarter 42 percent of the unemployed young persons aged 15-24 were unemployed for 4 weeks or less. The corresponding percentage was 19 percent for persons aged 25-54 and 11 percent for persons aged 55-64.
In a similar way the percentage of young persons that were long-term unemployed was lower. During the first quarter there were 18 000 young persons that were long-term unemployed, which is an increase of 4 000 persons. This means that 13 percent of the unemployed young persons have been unemployed for more than 26 consecutive weeks. The corresponding percentages were 28 percent for those aged 25-54 and 47 percent for those aged 55-64.