The employment rate has reached its highest level since the start of the 1990s recession

EMPLOYMENT The situation continued to improve in Finland in March.

Statistics Finland reported on Monday that the number of employed people increased by 77,000 year-on-year to 2,573,000, helping to push the employment rate trend to 73.7%. The number of unemployed, in turn, fell by 31,000 to 192,000, driving the unemployment rate down to 6.6%.

The employment rate is currently at its highest level since the pre-recession period of the 1990s, noted Juho Keskinen, an economist at the Mortgage Society of Finland (Hypo). The rate, he said, is attributable not only to the high number of fixed-term and part-time employees, but also to strong growth and the resumption of economic activities amid restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic. coronavirus are “finally” lifted.

The main sources of uncertainty are rising inflation rates and the war in Ukraine, according to Keskinen. Finnish labor markets, however, have not yet been affected by the war and could emerge relatively unscathed from the crisis.

“Because of the war, regional differences may increase in Finnish labor markets. Russia’s shutdown will deal an economic blow, especially in eastern Finland. Waves of strikes are driving up inflation, which threatens to have a negative effect on Finnish competitiveness. Moreover, the risk of recession has increased in the longer term, which may push the favorable labor market figures in another direction.

Jukka Appelqvistthe chief economist of the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, also considered that there are no signs of major disruption in the employment situation, even if the war has eroded the economic outlook.

“If the economic situation cools in a more lasting way, it will start to have an effect on employment in the long term. The short-term impacts on employment are however limited. Exporting companies that are feeling the direct effects of the Russian trade slowdown will not employ a particularly large number of people.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said in its latest employment report that the number of unemployed job seekers registered with municipal employment and lawsuit offices fell by 80,800 year-on-year. to reach 250,700 in March. The number of new job vacancies rose by 48,500 to 126,200.

However, more than 100,000 of them had been out of work for at least a year.

“Even though new jobs are becoming available at a record pace month after month, the number of long-term unemployed is not decreasing as desired. Periods of unemployment that become chronic are indicative of relatively large challenges in the labor market,” Appelqvist said.

“Particularly alarming is that employment spells that lasted longer than two years have increased. Periods of unemployment as long as they increase the risk of more permanent exclusion from the labor market.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT