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 figuresMarch 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.

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

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.

After a period of strong growth the employment has just shown a slight increase from 1999, and in 2002 the number of employed persons started to decrease. From the 3-month period (November 2002 - January 2003) to (February - April 2003), the number of employed persons decreased by 6 000, which is inside the error margins.

Norwegian unemployment has increased weakly since the autumn 1999, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the LFS. From the 3-month period (November 2002 - January 2003) to (February - April 2003) total unemployment increased by 1 000 persons. In per cent of the labour force the number of unemployed persons increased by 0.1 percentage points, which is inside the error margins. Seasonally adjusted figures of registered unemployed persons at the Employment Offices have increased the last 3-month period.

Unemployment increased in the EU

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Norway increased from 4.1 per cent in December 2002 to 4.2 per cent in March 2003. In the same period the unemployment increased from 7.8 to 7.9 per cent as an average in the EU member countries. In March 2003 the unemployment rate amounted to 5.8 in USA, 0.2 percentage point lower than in December 2002. The unemployment rate in Sweden increased from 5.1 per cent in December 2002 to 5.3 per cent in March 2003, and in Finland it increased from 8.9 to 9.1 per cent. In the same period unemployment increased both in France and Germany. This is according to figures from Eurostat and OECD .

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

Man-weeks worked have shown a decreasing trend since the autumn 1999. The last 3 month period man-weeks worked increased by 2 000, which is within the error margins.

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 the Easter holiday was in April. Due to this fact we adjust the figure of man-weeks worked up by 370 000 prior to the seasonal adjustment. Partly the adjustments are made so that the relative change in average weekly working hours from November 2002 to April 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 March is the average of the estimates from February, March and April.