During the 12-month period from December 2017 to November 2018, the average total number of employers in Iceland was 18,343 and the average number of employees was 194,100. This is an increase of 652 (3.7%) employers and 6,100 (3.2%) employees compared with the period from December 2016 to November 2017.


In November 2018, there were about 135,800 employees in the business sectors which is an increase of 2,600 (1.9%) as compared with November 2017. During this 12-month period, the total number of employees increased by 4,500 (2.3%). There was a decrease in the number of employees in fisheries (-1.8%); high technology manufacturing and services (-1.3%); and retail trade (-0.2%).

Number of employers and employees in selected activities
Employers Employees November
  Nov. 2018 2017 2018 Change %
All activities 18,556 190,500 195,000 4,500 2.3
Business sectors (NACE no. 03-82, 95-96) 14,621 133,200 135,800 2,600 1.9
Fisheries (NACE no. 031, 102) 485 8,800 8,600 -200 -1.8
Manufacturing except fish processing (NACE no. 10-33 except 102)1,058 17,200 17,800 600 3.7
Construction (NACE no. 41-43)2,906 13,400 14,400 1,000 7.4
Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 45)518 3,600 3,700 100 2.7
Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 46)1,016 9,000 9,100 100 1.1
Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE no. 47)894 16,200 16,200 0 -0.2
Public administration, compulsory social security and education (NACE no. 84-85)603 42,400 42,900 500 1.2
Human health and social work activities (NACE no. 86-88)1,176 16,200 16,800 600 3.5
Tourism industries (NACE no. 491, 4932, 4939, 501, 503, 511, 551-553, 561, 563, 771, 7721, 79)1,891 28,300 28,800 500 1.7
High technology manufacturing and services (NACE no. 20, 254, 26-30, 325, 53, 58, 60-63, 72)97513,30013,100-200-1.3

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 October 2018 is now estimated at 18,543 and the total number of employees is estimated at 192,700. The number of employees increased by 4,100 (2.2%) from October 2017 to October 2018.

In January, the number of employers and employees in October 2018 was estimated at 18,336 and 192,300, respectively. The number of employees was then estimated to have increased by 3,600 (1.9%) from October 2017 to October 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. Those figures are updated monthly.

Statistics on activities related to tourism
Statistics all economic activities