Flat employment and unemployment
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 figuresDecember 2003



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Flat employment and unemployment

Employment and unemployment remained more or less flat from September to December 2003, but man-week figures decreased. The figures are adjusted for seasonal variations.

Unemployed (LFS), registered unemployed and registered unemployed plus government measures to promote employment. Seasonally adjusted figures, three-month moving average in 1 000. 1989-2004.

Labour force, employees and man-weeks worked. Seasonally adjusted figures, three-month moving average in 1 000. 1989-2003.

Since June (the May-July period) the trend has shown a weak decline in unemployment. Like the November figure, the last figure for December (November-January) shows that unemployment increased by 1 000 people from the previous month. However, this is clearly inside the error margins, and so the increase is not inconsistent with the trend. Seasonally adjusted figures of registered unemployment at job centres also revealed a slight increase from November to December.

The summer of 2003 saw an increase in employment after a longer period of decline. But from October (September-November) to December (November-January) employment decreased by 10 000 people, which is still inside the error margin. Therefore the decrease is not inconsistent with the trend.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment in selected countries. Per cent of the labour force. December 2003.

Unemployment down in the USA and OECD

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Norway was 4.6 per cent both in December and September 2003. EU unemployment remained flat at 8.0 per cent, while the unemployment rate in OECD countries fell from 7.1 to 6.9 per cent. The USA saw unemployment fall by 0.4 percentage points to 5.7 per cent from September to December, while Sweden experienced unemployment growth from 5.6 per cent to 6.0 per cent, and Denmark from 5.9 to 6.1 per cent. In Finland unemployment was stable at 9.0 per cent. Also in Germany and France unemployment remained more or less unchanged. This is according to figures from the OECD and Eurostat .

Man-weeks worked have shown a downward trend since the summer of 1998. From September to December man-weeks worked fell by 27 000, which is clearly outside the error margins. Some of the decline may be attributable to a large amount of employees taking time off work around New Year's Day.

Employment (LFS). Seasonally adjusted figures and trend figures. Three-month moving average in 1 000. 1999-2003.

Unemployment (LFS). Seasonally adjusted figures and trend figures. Three-month moving average in 1 000. 1999-2003.

Uncertain figures

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. The figures should therefore be treated with caution.

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