HELSINGIN SANOMAT international

Business & Finance - Wednesday 23.4.2003

Troubles in export sector adding to male unemployment

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The unemployment rate of men has deteriorated in Finland. The negative trend first became visible last autumn. By March, the male unemployment rate had risen to 10.9 percent, which is nearly two percentage points higher than in March 2002.
   
Men have been particularly affected by the dismissals that have recently been carried out in the export sector. The entire industrial sector has faced difficulties, but the metal, machinery, and electronics industries have been hardest hit. In the IT sector, even Nokia has now resorted to mass dismissals.
   
Men account for 72 percent of the employees in Finnish industry, so the job cuts mostly affect men. The industrial sector has also recently warned that it will offer fewer summer jobs in 2003 than last year.
   
The employment situation of women has improved steadily ever since the end of the last recession, or 1995. The trend has continued up to the present, as the female unemployment rate in March was 8.9 percent, or one percentage point less than one year ago.
   
The prospects of women are now brighter, as demand in the home market is still brisk, and women often work in the service sector. The share of women in public and service sector jobs is 73 percent.

According to the new employment statistics
published by Statistics Finland, there were 14,000 more unemployed people in March 2003 than one year previously. The working population had also grown by 11,000 people. The total number of the unemployed in Finland is now 257,000.
   
The Ministry of Labour has increased its support measures for the unemployed, and as a result the number of people now working through subsidised measures or who are in labour market training or job alternation positions has grown by 12,000.
   
Although it is not yet reflected in the statistics, the unemployment rate of academically educated people has begun to rise slightly over the past few months.
   
The Finnish employment rate has remained stable by virtue of the larger number of fixed-term and part-time workers. Their number in March was 39,000 higher than last year.
   
In Helsinki, the number of unemployed was 27,000 in March, which translates into an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent. The increase from last year is slightly under one thousand job seekers.
   
In a comparison of EU nations, Finland still places near the bottom of the pack. Spain suffers from the highest unemployment rate, and Finland, Greece, and Italy are all down at the end of the list.

Previously in HS International Edition:
 Recession threatens shipbuilding companies; thousands of jobs on the line (14.4.2003)
 Nokia Networks to shed 1,800 jobs worldwide; majority of impact felt in Finland (11.4.2003)
 TeliaSonera announces hefty job cuts in Finland and Sweden (3.4.2003)

Links:
 Statistics Finland employment report


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