Final figures for 2021

On 19 December 2022 final figures for 2021 were published in the StatBank. See the section “Frequency and timeliness” under “Administrative information” in “About the statistics” for more information.

Attachment to employment, education and welfare benefits

Updated: 19 December 2022

Next update: Not yet determined

Share of the population combining employment with education or benefits
Share of the population combining employment with education or benefits

About the statistics

The statistics shows the population's attachment to employment, education and public welfare benefits. For individuals in the labour force, the statistics shows how work is combined with education or receiving welfare benefits. Individuals outside the labour force are divided into groups of statuses based on benefits they receive. The statistics includes all residents aged 15 years and over.

Residents are persons who are expected to stay for more than six months in the country and are thus registered as residents in the Central Population Register (Det Sentrale Folkeregisteret). Measurement period for the number of residents in the statistics is the 4th quarter (third week of November) in the reference year.

Labour force is the sum of the employed and the registered unemployed, ie people with the attachment to the labor market.

Persons outside the labour force are persons who were neither employed nor registered unemployed in the reference week.

Employed persons are persons aged 15 years or more who performed work for pay or profit for at least one hour in the reference week, or who were temporarily absent from work because of illness, holidays etc. Conscripts are classified as employed persons. Persons engaged by government measures to promote employment are also included if they receive wages. This follows recommendations from the International Labour Organization, ILO.

Other employed comprises employees who also receive benefits not mentioned in other groups of employees in the statistics. These benefits include sickness benefits, pensions other than from NAV, unemployment benefits, cash-for-care benefits etc.

Unemployed is defined as persons who are seeking income-earning work and who are available to carry out such work. In addition, these persons must not have had any work for pay or profit in the preceding two weeks.

Participants in labour market measures are jobseekerswho, during the reference period, took part in a measure aimed for jobseekers.

Work assessment allowance ensures income during periods when, due to illness or injury, assistance is required from NAV to get back to work. Assistance may consist of work-related measures, medical treatment or other measures by NAV.

Disability benefits ensure income for persons who have their income permanently reduced due to illness or injury.

Contractual early retirement pension (AFP) is an early retirement scheme that can be received from the age of 62 years in the public and parts of the private sector.

Retirement pension through the National Insurance Scheme (folketrygden) ensures income in old age, as well as it allows for gradual transition from work to retirement. The level of retirement pension depends on the income through life and how many years one has lived in Norway. At the same time, everyone is guaranteed the minimum pension level even if they have not been employed.

Other benefits include for example recipients of cash-for-care benefits, single mother/father benefit and social assistance.

Unknown status means that there is missing information about the person in the registries that have been used to produce the statistics. Reasons for this can for example be:

- emigration without reporting to the Population Register,

- some welfare benefits (social assistance, cash-for-care benefit) are provided to the entire household and may be registered with another person in the household,

- some activities are not included in the data base, such as adult education.

Immigrants are individuals born abroad by foreign-born parents.

NEET is an abbreviation of "Not in Education, Employment or Training" used to describe youth outside work, education or training.

Working hours are calculated using the number of hours per week that constitute a full-time position, the percentage of the position and the number of paid hours.

Contractual percentage of full-time equivalent is what you have agreed to work according to your contract of employment. The employer shall not consider additional work, overtime or different types of absence from work or if the hours have been paid or not. The information on contractual percentage of full-time equivalent is based on what is reported to the a-ordningen. For persons that are paid by the hour without contractual working hours per week, e.g. on-call temporary workers, the employer can report 0 as contractual percentage of full-time equivalent. Statistics Norway will then calculate contractual percentage of full-time equivalent from what is reported as paid hours and number of hours that corresponds to a 100 per cent position in the moth of reporting.

Contractual working hours per week: By combining information regarding contractual percentage of full-time equivalent and number of hours per week in a full position, contractual working hours per week is calculated for each employment (job) and wage earner (person). The number of hours in a full position is the number of working hours that makes a full position in a similar employment. Unpaid lunchbreaks are withdrawn, but it is not adjusted for potential additional work, overtime or different types of absence from work.

Monthly earnings are the main term in Statistics Norway’s wage statistics. Monthly earnings cover basic salaries, variable additional allowances and bonuses. Overtime pay is not included in monthly earnings.

Basic salaries are the actual payment at the time of the census and are often described as salary by scale or regular basic wage. Qualification/skill allowance and other regular personal allowances are included in this type of wage. The wage or salary may be payment by the hour, week, fortnight or month.

The statistics shows monthly earnings and basic monthly salary in full-time equivalents.

Full-time equivalents: In the statistics, employees who work less than 100% are defined as part-time employees. In order to compare salaries between full-time and part-time employees, the wages of part-time employees are converted to the equivalent for full-time work. This is done using the percentage of each part-time employee’s position as a conversion factor. Monthly wages per full-time equivalent for part-time employees can then be merged with the monthly salary of full-time employees so that the average monthly earnings for all employees can be calculated.

The educational classification is in accordance with the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education Revised 2000 (NOS C 617).

In the statistics, only one status is calculated for the individual's attachment to the labour market, education and benefits. For persons active in multiple statuses at the same time, the highest priority status (for employed two highest priority statuses) is displayed. This status is based on a priority that takes into account the following criteria:

- The labour force has the highest priority when calculating a status. This ensures consistency with other registry-based employment statistics. This is also in line with the International Labour Organization's (ILO) recommendations on labour market statistics;

- Among people outside the labour force, the priority shows the degree of proximity to the labour force, and temporary activities / benefits are prioritized in front of more lasting activities / benefits;

- The decision about which status has priority must be based on good data quality.

Priority of activities/welfare benefits, ordered from highest to lowest


In the labour force

Registered unemployed

Participants in labour market measures

Outside of the labour force

In ordinary education

Recipient of work assessment allowance

Recipient of disability benefits

Recipient of contractual early retirement pension

Recipient of retirement pension

Other benefits (cash-for-care, social assistance etc)

Unknown status

This priority implies for example that a person who is registered both in ordinary education and as a recipient of disability benefits, will be placed in the group “In ordinary education” in the statistics.

Information on educational attainment applies as of 1 October in the statistical year. In this statistics, an education grouping standard is used, where the highest completed education is classified in the following way:

Name: Attachment to employment, education and welfare benefits

Topic: Labour market and earnings

Not yet determined

Division for Labour Market and Wage Statistics


To improve the timeliness of the statistics «Attachment to employment, education and welfare benefits», Statistics Norway started publishing preliminary figures in 2020 (reference year 2019).

In contrast to final figures, the preliminary figures are partly based on information from the year prior to the statistical year. The Registry for Personal Tax Payers (administered by the Directorate of Taxes) is used to identify self-employed persons through tax return information. However, the production time of this registry is time consuming. Information from the year prior to the reference year is therefore utilized until the updated registry is available. This mismatch in time of measurement, results in some uncertainty in the figures. Some individuals can wrongly be classified as employed persons, even if they were not working in the reference year. On the other hand, some may be counted as not employed persons, even though they became self-employed in the reference year.

The statistics is updated with final figures when information on self-employed persons from the reference year is available.

Not relevant

Source data are permanently stored

The main purpose of the statistics is to break down the large and heterogeneous group of people outside the workforce by dividing them into main groups of statuses. This will indicate how far away from employment they are and what public benefits they receive. The statistics also describes how employees combine employment with education or receiving public benefits.

The statistics was first published in December 2018, with time series back to 2008.

Public administration, researchers and the media are the most central users of the statistics.

No external users can access the statistics before it is published at after a preliminary notification 3 month in advance in the Statistics Calendar.

The statistics "Attachment to work, education and welfare benefits" is not directly comparable to other employment statistics. Even though the data sources and population definitions are the same, there may still be some discrepancies between the two statistics due to different reference periods or withdrawal times from the registers. For more information, see note "What do the different employment statistics show?" (in Norwegian).

The Official Statistics and Statistics Norway Act § 10, cf. The employer's reporting of employment and income conditions Act, etc. (the a-opplysnings Act) § 3.

Not relevant

The statistics includes all residents aged 15 years and older per 4th quarter of the reference year.

The figures in the statistics are based on information from the system for personal data (SFP). This system consists of records containing data on areas such as employment, education and welfare benefits meant to compensate for missing income. In SFP, there are also demographic background variables, such as gender and age. Most variables are retrieved directly from the different registers, while some are constructed by combining data from different sources. The countdown is the fourth quarter of each year.

The most important data sources in SFP are Statistics Norway's register-based employment statistics and education statistics (ongoing education), the Central Population Register (DSF) and NAV's registries of unemployed and people on various welfare benefits.

The figures for employed until 2014 are based on data from the Ee-register, The Register of End of the Year Certificates (Register of Wage Sums), The Register for Personal Tax Payers and The Register of Wage Sums. From 2015 onwards a new joint reporting solution called a-ordningen gathers the reporting from the employers to the Ee-register, produced by the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, as well as some reports to the Tax Administration and Statistics Norway. A-ordningen is a coordinated digital collection of data on employment, income and tax deductions to the Tax Administration, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organization and Statistics Norway. This new joint collection provides Statistics Norway with information on wages and employed persons directly from a-meldingen, which is the electronic message containing all the information collected, rather than the multiple sources used until 2014. You can find more information about the new reporting at In addition to the a-ordningen, other registers are used, the most important being the tax return register administered by the Tax Directorate, the register of consular officers from Vernepliktsverket and the Unit Register. Read more about the data sources for employed in the "About Statistics" for registry-based employment statistics.

Figures for registered unemployed and jobseekers on labour market measures are based on data from NAV's case processing system, ARENA (former SOFA applicant). The register includes, among other things, persons registered as fully unemployed, persons in ordinary labor market measures, and persons with reduced working capacity.

Imputation of education: Most 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds have not yet completed compulsory school, but in the statistics they are still encoded as having completed elementary school. This is done for the education-level tables to better show the main features of the labour market and the level of educational attainment.

Statistics Norway lacks information about educational level for some immigrants. For this group, SN has estimated (imputed) the level of education to provide better statistics on the aggregate level of educational attainment for immigrants. In this statistics, the imputed numbers are used from 2008 onwards. For a detailed description of the imputation method, see Jentoft (2014) and statistics on the population's level of education.

Not relevant
Not relevant

Figures are available back to 2008.

Employed: Figures on employees from 2015 are based on a new data base for wage earners. The main source until 2014 was NAV's Employee Register (Ee-register). In 2015, reporting to this register was coordinated with reporting of salary and personnel data to the Tax Administration and Statistics Norway. This reporting system is called the a-ordningen. A-ordningen provides a better data base because it is more accurate at the individual level and it covers more payroll relationships than the Ee- registry. However, changes in the data source mean that the figures for employed starting from 2015 are not comparable to previous years. You can find more information about changes in the data base of register-based employment statistics here.

The statistics "Attachment to work, education and welfare benefits" is not directly comparable to other employment statistics. Even though the data sources and population definitions are the same, there may still be some discrepancies between the two statistics due to different reference periods or withdrawal times from the registers. For more information, see note "What do the different employment statistics show?" (in Norwegian).

In the final figures for 2021 a small number of self-employed persons are missing. However, it does not impact the interpretation of the published figures. This is due to the identification of self-employed persons is done by using tax return information from January to December 2021, and not solely the reference week (the week containing 16 November). Additionally, self-employed persons and employees together constitute employed persons in the figures.

Work assessment allowance: On March 1, 2010, unemployment benefits, rehabilitation benefits and time-limited disability benefits were replaced by work assessment allowance (AAP). Therefore, in these statistics, the number of recipients of AAP represents the sum of recipients of these three benefits in the years before 2010.

Disability benefits: In the years 2008-2009, disability benefits include both temporary and permanent disability pensions. After changes in the disability scheme from 1 January 2015, disability pension was replaced with disability benefits. In this statistic, the term "disability benefits" is used throughout the time series and also includes disability pension in the years before 2015. This is to ensure consistency in the grouping of statuses.

Participants in the introduction programme for immigrants: Participants in the reference week are identified from the yearly data set used in the statistics on the introduction programme for immigrants. This group is included as its own category under level 3 of priority labour force status in the StatBank tables 12424, 12425 and 12836. In the other tables, the introduction programme participants are included as part of “Participants in labour market measures”.

Between 2008 and 2016, information about the programme was collected from the local authorities through the KOSTRA reporting. Most of the local authorities have their own case management systems from which data was retrieved, while some reported using an electronic form. As of 2017, the data set is based on information reported by the local authorities to the National Introduction Register (NIR) owned by the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi). The information from the local authorities’ case management system is the source for the whole period 2008–onwards, although the reporting itself differs.

For the period 2017–2019 in the statistics “Attachment to employment, education and welfare benefits”, active participants in the introduction programme were defined by being registered with a measure as part of the introduction programme with a start date before or during the reference week, or a completion date after the reference week.

After further clarification from the owner of the register, IMDi, as of 2020 onwards a “proxy start date” is used to identify active participants in the introduction programme in the reference week. The earliest of the following dates is used:

  • the date of which the completion deadline is estimated from
  • the start date of being granted for the first time the right and obligation to participate in the programme
  • the start date of first being registered with a measure as part of the introduction programme

Additionally, a “proxy completion date” is used to identify those who have completed the programme:

  • the completion date
  • the completion deadline if the completion date is zero

Consequently, the new extraction caused an increase from 5 300 to 6 000 persons having participation in the introduction programme as their main labour force status.