Please note that this press release was corrected 14 April 2020 at 10.00. These corrections were inaccuracies in percentages published in parentheses.

During the 12-month period from February 2019 to January 2020, the average total number of employers in Iceland was 18,713 and the average number of employees was 193,700. This is an increase of 249 (+1.3%) employers and decrease of 900 (-0.4%) employees compared with the period from February 2018 to January 2019.

In January 2020, there were about 122,600 employees in the business sectors which is a decrease of 5,800 (-4.5%) as compared with January 2019. During this 12-month period, the total number of employees decreased by 3,900 (-2.1%). There was a decrease in the number of employees in the tourism industries ( -9.8%) and in construction (-7.7%).

Number of employers and employees in selected activities
Employers Employees in January
  Jan. 2020 2019 2020 Change %
All activities 17,909 188,000 184,100 -3,900 -2.1
Business sectors (NACE no. 03-82, 95-96) 14,010 128,400 122,600 -5,800 -4.5
Fisheries (NACE no. 031, 102) 410 7,700 7,200 -500 -5.9
Manufacturing except fish processing (NACE no. 10-33 excluding 102)995 16,900 16,500 -500 -2.7
Construction (NACE no. 41-43)2,762 13,500 12,400 -1,000 -7.7
Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 45)500 3,500 3,300 -200 -5.3
Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 46)980 9,000 9,100 100 1.0
Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 47)827 15,100 14,700 -400 -2.5
Financial and insurance activities (NACE no. 64-66)375 5,900 5,800 -100 -2.4
Public administration, compulsory social security and education (NACE no. 84-85)590 42,100 43,500 1,400 3.3
Human health and social work activities (NACE no. 86-88)1,198 16,800 17,500 700 3.9
Tourism industries (NACE no. 491, 4932, 4939, 501, 503, 511, 551-553, 561, 563, 771, 7721, 79)1,875 26,100 23,500 -2,500 -9.8
High technology manufacturing and services (NACE no. 20, 254, 26-30, 325, 53, 58, 60-63, 72)95112,80012,400 -400 -3.0

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 the magnitude of recent revisions by economic activity, 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 October 2019 is now estimated at 18,846 and the total number of employees is estimated at 190,800. The number of employees decreased by 2,100 (-1.1%) from October 2018 to October 2019.

In December, the number of employers and employees in October were estimated at 18,360 and 189,400, respectively. The number of employees was then estimated to have decreased by 3,400 (-1.8%) from October 2018 to October 2019.

Other statistics on the business economy
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 publishes 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 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.

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 2002-2018.

Statistics on activities related to tourism
Statistics on all economic activities