In 2016, there were on average 16,721 employers and 180,000 employees in Iceland which is an increase of 705 (4.4%) employers and 8,400 (4.9%) employees from the year before.

The greatest increase in the number of employees was observed in activities related to tourism and in the construction sector.

In 2016, there were on average 1,577 employers and 24,200 employees in activities related to tourism. The number of employees increased by 3,800 (18.4%) from the year before.

Similarly, there were on average 2,404 employers and 10,400 employees in the construction sector, and the number of employees increased by 1,400 (15.6%) from 2015.

It should be noted that these figures do not include information on the self-employed with calculated remuneration, a setup common in construction, agriculture and creative industries.

Table 1: Number of employers and employees in selected activities¹
  Employers Employees
  Average 2016 Average 2015 Average 2016 Change %
All activities 16,721 171,700 180,100 8,400 4.9
Fisheries  586 9,700 9,400 -300 -3.2
Manufacturing except fish processing  1,028 16,500 17,000 500 3.1
Construction 2,404 9,000 10,400 1,400 15.6
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 2,313 24,900 26,200 1,200 4.9
Financial and insurance activities  384 6,400 6,400 0 -0.5
Public administration, compulsory social security and education 562 41,400 41,300 -200 -0.4
Human health and social work activities  1,075 15,600 15,900 300 2.0
Tourism industries 1,577 20,400 24,200 3,800 18.4
High technology manufacturing and services 874 12,300 12,700 400 2.9
Creative industries 1,520 8,900 9,200 300 3.3
¹ A detailed description of these activities can be found in the metadata         

Sources of error and revision of statistics
The aforementioned figures are preliminary. Having income data as the source, there is a chance of underestimating the latest figures when employers do not submit their information in a timely manner. Other causes of error include reimbursement to former employees. When new data are published, previous figures are revised. For more information on how figures are revised, please refer to the metadata.

Statistics on employers and employees previously published have been revised, taking into account the latest available information on salaries and classification of employers based on economic activities.

The number of employers in November 2016 is now estimated as 16,938 and the total number of employees is estimated as 184,100. The number of employees increased by 11,100 (6.5%) from November 2015 to November 2016.

In the press release from January 2017, the number of employers and employees in November 2016 were estimated as 16.498 and 183,300, respectively. The number of employees had previously been estimated to have increased by 10,300 (5.9%) from November 2015 to November 2016.

Other statistics on business economy
Statistics Iceland publishes annual income and balance statements of enterprises by activity, based on tax returns, providing a detailed picture of the individual sectors. The latest income statement and balance sheet. 

Statistics Iceland conducts a labour force survey (LFS) continuously. The main results (e.g. unemployment) are published monthly and more detailed results (number of full time employees, working hours by industry etc.) are published annually. The labour force survey provides information about both self-employed, and only people who are permanently living in Iceland are included in the sample. Hence, it should be expected that the LFS-figures are notthe same as published in this press release. Data on the number of employers and employees should be used mainly as short-time indicators and to provide information on the within-year variations.