Stable labor market

The decrease in employment seems to have come to a stop. There were only small changes in the unemployment rate from September to December 2009.

After a period of decline the employment level increased by 9000 persons from September (as measured by the average of the months from August to October) to December (as measured by the average of the months from November to January). This is within the error margin of the Labor force survey (LFS), but is at the same time consistent with the latest period’s trend, which indicates that the decline in the employment has come to a stop.

Unemployment remained stable

The season adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in December (as measured by the average of the months from November to January), up 0.1 percentage points (3,000 persons) from September (as measured by the average of the months from August to October). This is within the error margin of the LFS.

The unemployment rate of November (as measured by the average of the months from October to December) was revised up from 3.2 to 3.3 percent.

In comparison, seasonally-adjusted figures for those registered unemployed with the Labor and Welfare Organization (NAV) rose by about 1,000 from September to December. Including persons on government initiatives to promote employment there was a total increase of 4,000. These figures have also been adjusted for seasonal variations.

Unemployment still rising in Europe

In the period September to December, unemployment continued to rise in Europe. Denmark saw an increase of 0.9 percentage points, the unemployment rate in Denmark is now 7.4 per cent. In the EU-15 countries, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points, ending at 9.6 per cent. In France unemployment rose by 0.3 percentage points, ending at 10.0 per cent of the labor force in December. All figures refer to seasonally-adjusted data from Eurostat.

The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed between 16-74 years of age. From September to December the employment rose by 9,000, while there is an increase of unemployment of 3,000. This gives an increase in the labor force of 12,000.

The coherence between the concepts

Unemployed + Employed = Labor force

Labor force + Outside the labor force = Population

Unemployed (LFS), registered unemployed and registered unemployed plus government initiatives to promote employment. Seasonally-adjusted figures, three-month moving average in 1,000. 1997-2009

Employment and unemployment figures include permanent residents

The LFS only includes persons who are registered as residents in the population register. Persons working in Norway who are not registered as permanent residents or who are planning to stay for less than six months are not included in the employment figure in the LFS. If these people lose their job it does not count as a fall in employment or a rise in unemployment. In national accounts figures (NR), employed non-residents are included in the employment figure as long as they work in an establishment in Norway. If employment decreases in this group it will count as a fall in employment in NR. Statistics Norway publishes separate figures for all registered non-residents once a year.

Uncertain figures

The purpose of making seasonal adjustments is to describe the development over the last year, corrected for seasonal variations. In order to reduce uncertainty, the published series are three-month moving averages of the seasonally-adjusted figures. However, uncertainty means that sampling errors must be considered when interpreting the figures from the LFS. We normally compare the latest non-overlapping three-month periods. An overview of sampling errors in the LFS can be found in “About the statistics”, chapter 5 section 3.

Quarterly LFS figures, not seasonally adjusted, are presented in a separate article.

Source: Statistics Norway

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