During the fourth quarter of 2011 the number of persons outside the labour force amounted to 2 119 000, corresponding to 30 percent of the population aged 15-74. The majority of them were full-time students, pensioners or claimed to be sick. The share of the population that was outside the labour force and sick was highest among those who only had a lower secondary education.
Persons outside the labour force are those who are neither employed nor unemployed. During the fourth quarter of 2011 a total of 2 119 000 persons aged 15-74 were outside the labour force, of whom 971 000 were men and 1 148 000 women. As a percentage of the population this corresponds to a total of 30 percent.
The share of the population that is outside the labour force was higher among foreign born than among Swedish born persons, 33 percent compared to 29 percent. Among the foreign born women, 39 percent were outside the labour force and the corresponding share among Swedish born women was 31 percent. Among men, there was no significant difference.
The number of people outside the labour force also differs for different age groups. Among all persons outside the labour force, 70 percent were in the age groups 15-24 years and 65-74 years. Naturally, many are outside the labour force in those two age groups because the majority of the younger persons are students and elderly ones are pensioners. The remaining 30 percent was thus aged 25-64.
Among persons aged 25-54 years, 9 percent were not in the labour force and the corresponding share for those aged 55-64 was 24 percent. In these two age groups, many claimed to be sick: a total of 131 000 aged 25-54 and 174 000 aged 55-64.
When the population in the age groups 25-54 and 55-64 is broken down into the highest education level achieved, the share that was outside the labour force and claimed to be sick was higher among those who had a lower level of education. For example, the share of the population aged 25-54 that was outside the labour force and sick was nine times as high among those who had an upper secondary education compared to those in the same age who had a tertiary education. In the age group 55-64, the share was nearly four times as high among those who had an upper secondary education compared to those with a tertiary education.
More persons outside the labour force, but the share of the population outside the labour force has not increased since 2005
The number of persons aged 15-74 that were outside the labour force during the fourth quarter of 2011 has increased by 120 000 since the same quarter of 2005. The number of men who were outside the labour force has increased by 53 000 and the number of women outside the labour force has increased by 68 000.
The share of the population aged 15-74 that was outside the labour force has not increased. However, the share of the population not in the labour force has decreased in the age group 25-54 from 11 percent to 9 percent since 2005. Furthermore, the share has also decreased for the age group 55-64 from 27 to 24 percent.