More people underemployed
Labour market and earnings;Labour market and earnings;Immigration and immigrants
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Labour force surveyQ1 2005



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More people underemployed

The number of underemployed people increased by 12 000 last year, and women accounted for all of the increase. The figures are taken from the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) carried out by Statistics Norway.

Seasonally adjusted figures: Stable labour market

Unemployment and employment stayed approximately unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2004 to the first quarter of 2005, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the LFS. The changes for both unemployment and employment are inside the LFS error margin. Employment may still follow an upward trend, while unemployment remains on a stable level.

The seasonal adjustment method is a favourable method of revealing the current development in the labour market, and serves as an alternative to comparisons with the corresponding quarter in the previous year. Seasonally adjusted figures are presented in a separate article.

The number of underemployed, i.e. part-time employees who want to work more hours, went up from 97 000 to 109 000 from the first quarter of 2004 to the first quarter of 2005. This represents 17.6 per cent of all part-time employees and compares with 15.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2004. Never before has the number of underemployed been higher since the Norwegian LFS started measuring the under-employment in 1989. Over 60 per cent of the underemployed work in health and social work, and in wholesale, retail trade, hotels and restaurants. In addition, most of the part-time employees are found in the same two industry divisions.

Workforce, employed and man-weeks worked. Seasonally adjusted figures in 1 000

Unchanged labour force participation

Total labour force participation stayed approximately unchanged at 71.8 per cent from the first quarter of 2004 to the first quarter of 2005. Women and men aged 20-24 had a decline, while some increase was found among women aged 30-39.

The total number of employees increased by 13 000 from the first quarter of 2004 to the first quarter of 2005, and the full-time employees accounted for all of the increase. The employment figures by industry reveal a 15 000 increase in wholesale and retail trade employment in the same period. In addition, employment rose by 9 000 in business activities. Agriculture and forestry experienced a fall in employment in this period.

Unchanged temporary employment

The number of temporary employees was 187 000 in the first quarter of 2005, which approximately on level with the first quarter of 2004. Temporary employment was most common in health and social work, education, as well as in hotels and restaurants. At the opposite end of the scale, transport and communication, manufacturing, in addition to construction are characterised by relatively few temporary employees.

Unemployed (LFS), registered unemployed and registered employed + public sector job creation programmes. Seasonally adjusted figures in 1 000

Approximately unchanged unemployment

The number of unemployed in the first quarter of 2005 was 110 000, approximately unchanged from the first quarter of 2004. The total unemployment rate was 4.6 per cent, the rate for men 5.0 per cent and the rate for women 4.2 per cent.

The proportion of long-term unemployed increased from 21 to 26 per cent last year. Long-term unemployment is defined as unemployment that has lasted for at least six consecutive months.

Actual hours worked for the unemployed and underemployed amounted to 134 000 man-weeks (full-time work) in the first quarter of 2005, an increase of 10 000 from the corresponding quarter of 2004.

Small changes in international figures

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Norway was 4.5 per cent in February 2005, compared with 4.4 per cent in November 2004. The rate stayed approximately unchanged in the EU and OECD area, at 8.1 and 6.7 per cent respectively. In the same period, the unemployment in the USA stayed unchanged at 5.4 per cent. From November 2004 to February 2005, the unemployment rate increased from 6.4 to 6.5 per cent in Sweden, and in Finland from 8.8 to 9.0 per cent. In the same period, the figures for France and Germany went up 0.2 percentage points, and ended at 9.8 and 9.7 per cent respectively, according to figures from the OECD and Eurostat .