Still weakened labour market
Labour market and earnings;Labour market and earnings
akumnd, Labour force survey, seasonally-adjusted figures, LFS, labour market, employees, unemployed, economically active, man-weeks worked, labour forceUnemployment , Employment , Labour market and earnings

Labour force survey, seasonally-adjusted figuresFebruary 2003



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Still weakened labour market

The number of employed persons decreased slightly, while the number of unemployed was about unchanged in the last 3-months period. The latest figures adjusted for seasonal variations from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show changes that are within the error margins.

The employment has shown only a slight increase from 1999 and onwards, after a period of strong growths. In 2002 the number of employed persons started to fall. From the 3-month period October - December 2002 to January - March 2003, the number of employed persons decreased by 5 000, which is inside the error margins.

Labour force, employed persons and man-weeks worked. Seasonally adjusted figures, three-months moving average in 1000. 1989-2003.

Norwegian unemployment has shown a weak increase since the autumn 1999, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the LFS. From the 3-month period October - December 2002 to January - March 2003 total unemployment decreased by 1 000 persons, which is inside the error margins. Seasonally adjusted figures of registered unemployed persons at the Employment Offices have increased the last 3-month period.

Man-weeks worked have shown a decreasing trend since the autumn 1999. It looks like the latest figures support the trend, however, the decrease in man-weeks worked of 4 000 the last 3 month period is within the error margins.

Unemployment increased in the EU, unchanged in OECD

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Norway was unchanged at 4.1 per cent from November 2002 to February 2003. In the same period the unemployment increased from 7.7 to 7.9 per cent as an average in the EU member countries. The unemployment rate in the OECD-countries as a whole was unchanged at 7.0 per cent. In February 2003 the unemployment rate amounted to 5.8 in USA, 0.1 percentage point lower than in November 2002. The unemployment rate in Denmark increased from 4.7 per cent in November 2002 to 5.0 per cent in February 2003, while it was unchanged at 5.1 per cent in Sweden, and it deceased in Finland from 9.0 to 8.8 per cent. In the same period unemployment increased both in France and Germany. This is according to figures from OECD .

Unemployed (Labour Force Survey - LFS), registered unemployed and registered unemployed plus government measures to promote employment. Seasonally adjusted figures, three-months moving average in 1000. 1989-2003.

Seasonal adjusted unemployment in selected countries. Per cent of the labour force. January 2002.

About the man-weeks estimates

Previous to the seasonal adjustment, we also make adjustments for holidays that fall in random months every year. This year part of the country had winter holiday during one of the first two weeks of March. Due to this fact we adjust the figure of man-weeks worked up by 56 000 prior to the seasonal adjustment. Partly the adjustments are made so that the relative change in average weekly working hours from November 2002 to March 2003 is the same as in the previous year. In addition the holiday absence rates are set equal to the corresponding absence rates in the reference year 1991 in order to get comparable figures with the time series before the break in 1996. Before 1996 the Norwegian LFS surveys were not a continuous survey, but based on one week each month.


Quality tests show that the seasonally adjusted LFS unemployment figures are uncertain. The seasonal-adjustment method has problems identifying a stable seasonal pattern for this series. The random component is relatively large compared with the seasonal component. In addition there are only a few unemployed persons, which may result in the uncertainty being considerable. The figures should therefore be used with caution.

The purpose of adjusting for seasonal variations is to describe the development during the last year and to give figures for change between the last two 3-month periods, cleared for normal seasonal variations. In order to reduce uncertainty, the presented series are three months moving averages of the seasonally adjusted figures. For instance the figure from February is the average of the estimates from January, February and March.