Improving 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 figuresJanuary 2004



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Improving labour market

Since June 2003 unemployment has fallen gradually, and from December to January unemployment fell by 4 000. At the same time, employment has continued to grow. 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. 1989-2004

Since June (the May-July period) last year the trend has shown a decline in unemployment. The last figure for January (December-February) shows that unemployment decreased by 4 000 from the previous month (November-January). This is approximately on level with the error margins, and so the decline confirms the downward trend. Seasonally adjusted figures of registered unemployment at job centres revealed a lesser decrease from December last year to January this year.

The summer of 2003 saw an increase in employment after a longer period of decline. In January this year the number of employees increased by 2 000 from the previous month, which is inside the error margin.

Unemployment down in the USA and OECD

Seasonally adjusted unemployment in selected countries. Per cent of the labour force. January 2004

Employment (LFS). Seasonally adjusted figures and trend figures. Three-month moving average in 1 000. 1999-2004

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Norway was 4.4 per cent in January 2004, compared with 4.5 per cent in October 2003. EU unemployment remained flat at 8.0 per cent, while the unemployment rate in the OECD countries declined from 7.1 to 6.9 per cent. The USA saw unemployment fall by 0.4 percentage points to 5.6 per cent from October to January, while Sweden experienced unemployment growth from 5.9 to 6.0 per cent, Denmark from 5.9 to 6.1 per cent, and Finland from 8.9 to 9.0 per cent. 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 October to January man-weeks worked declined by 34 000, which is clearly outside the error margins. Some of the decline may be attributable to an extra large amount of employees taking time off work around New Year's Day.

Unemployment (LFS). Seasonally adjusted figures and trend figures. Three-month moving average in 1 000. 1999-2004

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 January are the average of the estimates for December, January and February.