During the 12-month period from February 2018 to January 2019, the average total number of employers in Iceland was 18,416 and the average number of employees was 194,600. This is an increase of 597 (3.4%) employers and 5,300 (2.8%) employees compared with the period from February 2017 to January 2018.


In January 2019, there were about 128,000 employees in the business sectors which is an increase of 200 (0.2%) as compared with January 2018. During this 12-month period, the total number of employees increased by 2,600 (1.4%).

Number of employers and employees in selected activities
Employers Employees January
  Jan. 2019 2018 2019 Change %
All activities 17.742 184.900 187.500 2.600 1,4
Business sectors (NACE no. 03-82, 95-96) 13.938 127.700 128.000 200 0,2
Fisheries (NACE no. 031, 102) 438 8.000 7.700 -400 -4,6
Manufacturing except fish processing (NACE no. 10-33 except 102)1.027 17.000 17.000 0 0,1
Construction (NACE no. 41-43)2.771 12.800 13.300 500 4,2
Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 45)491 3.500 3.400 0 -1,3
Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 46)986 8.800 8.900 100 1,1
Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 47)865 15.300 15.200 -100 -0,9
Public administration, compulsory social security and education (NACE no. 84-85)589 40.500 42.100 1.600 3,9
Human health and social work activities (NACE no. 86-88)1.145 16.300 16.800 500 3,2
Tourism industries (NACE no. 491, 4932, 4939, 501, 503, 511, 551-553, 561, 563, 771, 7721, 79)1.810 25.900 25.800 -100 -0,5
High technology manufacturing and services (NACE no. 20, 254, 26-30, 325, 53, 58, 60-63, 72)93912.90012.800-100-0,6

Causes of error and revision of statistics
These figures are preliminary. When using income data as the source, there is a risk of underestimating the latest figures if employers do not submit information in a timely manner. Other causes of error include reimbursements to former employees. When new data are published, previous figures are revised. For more information on revisions and their magnitude of recent revisions, please refer to the metadata and the summary of revisions.

Previously published statistics on employers and employees have been revised to take into account the latest available information on salaries and classifications of employers based on their main economic activities.

The number of employers in November 2018 is now estimated at 18,607 and the total number of employees is estimated at 194,900. The number of employees increased by 4,400 (2.3%) from November 2017 to November 2018. In March, the number of employers and employees in November 2018 were estimated at 18,556 and 195,000, respectively. The number of employees was then estimated to have increased by 4,500 (2.3%) from November 2017 to November 2018.

Other statistics on the business economy
Statistics Iceland publishes annual income and balance statements of enterprises by activity, based on tax returns to provide a detailed picture of the individual sectors for the period 2002-2017.

Statistics Iceland conducts a continuous labour force survey (LFS) 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 on both employees and self-employed people and only people who are permanently living in Iceland are included in the sample. Hence, the LFS figures are not the same as published in this press release. Data on the number of employers and employees should be used mainly as short-term indicators and to provide information on within-year variations.

It should be noted that these figures do not include information on self-employed people with calculated remuneration, a common situation in construction, agriculture and creative industries. Statistics Iceland has started publishing register-based data on people in employment including those who are on maternity leave or self-employed. That publication encompasses the number of employees by gender, age, origin and legal residence.

Statistics on activities related to tourism
Statistics all economic activities