Stable 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 figuresApril 2004



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Stable labour market

Both unemployment and employment remained more or less unchanged from March to April. 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.

The latest figure for April (the March-May period) shows that unemployment increased by 2 000 people from the previous month (February-April). As a result, the downward trend that has been evident since June (May-July) last year has become weaker, but the change is clearly inside the error margin. Seasonally adjusted figures of registered unemployment at job centres showed roughly the same development from March to April.

Following a long period of decline, employment started to increase in June 2003. In April this year the number of employees was unchanged from the previous month. Employment still appears to be in an upward trend.

Unemployment still rising in Germany

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Norway was 4.3 per cent in April 2004, compared with 4.4 per cent in January. Unemployment in the EU and OECD area was approximately unchanged at 8.1 and 6.9 per cent respectively in the same period. Unemployment stayed unchanged in the USA too, at 5.6 per cent from January to April. Sweden saw unemployment grow from 6.0 to 6.3 per cent, and Finland from 9.0 to 9.1 per cent. In Germany unemployment rose from 9.6 to 9.8 per cent, while France showed a decline from 9.5 to 9.4 per cent, according to figures from the OECD and Eurostat .

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

Man-weeks worked have shown a downward trend since the summer of 1998. But from January to April 2004 man-weeks worked increased by 39 000, which is clearly outside the error margin. The increase must however be seen in connection with the exceptional number of people who took time off work around New Year's Day, resulting in an extraordinary low level of man-weeks worked in January (the December-February period).

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.

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

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

The purpose of adjusting for seasonal variations is to describe the development in the last year and to provide figures of change between the last two three-month periods, corrected for normal seasonal variations. In order to reduce uncertainty, the published series are three-month moving averages of the seasonally adjusted figures. For instance, the figures for April represent the average of the estimates for March, April and May.