According to seasonally adjusted figures from Statistics Iceland's labour market survey, the number of unemployed people was 7,300 in December, or 3.9% of the labour force. This is 0.2 percentage points lower than in November. Seasonally adjusted labour force participation was 80.7%, which is about 0.1 percentage points higher than in November. The seasonally adjusted percentage of employed persons was 77.6%, or 0.2 percentage points higher than in November.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment trends have been steady in recent quarters. A slight upward trend is seen over the past six months, or from 3.6% in July to 3.8% in December. The employment rate ratio has also been stable when looking at the last six months.

According to an unadjusted survey, it is estimated that around 207,200 people aged 16-74 years were on the labour market in December 2019. This is equivalent to 79.8% (± 2 9) participation. Of the labour force, 200,700 (± 5,300) were found to be employed and 6,700 (± 1,000) were unemployed and looking for work. The employment rate was 77.3% (± 2.6) and the unemployment rate was 3.2% (± 1.1).

Since December 2018, the rate of unemployment has increased by 1.8 percentage points, while at the same time, the labour force participation rate has increased slightly, or by 0.2 percentage points. In contrast, the employment rate has dropped by 1.2 percentage points.

All counts are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Flow Chart - Labour force 16–74 years - December 2019 unadjusted measures Flow Chart — Labour force 16–74 years — December 2019 unadjusted measures.

Figure 1. Monthly unemployment 16–74 years

Table 1. Labour market in December unadjusted measures
CI CI CI
  2017 (±95%) 2018 (±95%) 2019 (±95%)
Total 1674 years
Activity rate 81.8 2.6 79.6 2.5 79.8 2.9
Employment rate 79.3 2.8 78.5 2.6 77.3 2.6
Unemployment rat 3.0 0.9 1.4 0.9 3.2 1.1
Hours of work 37.6 1.5 36.2 1.3 37.6 1.0
Labour force 201,700 6,400 201,600 6,300 207,200 5,300
Employed 195,600 6,800 198,800 6,500 200,700 4,900
Unemployed 6,100 2,900 2,800 1,800 6,700 1,000
Inactive 44,900 2,100 51,700 2,400 52,600 2,100
Est. population 246,600 253,300 259,700

Table 2. Labour market last 6 months seasonal adjustment
 Jul-19Aug-19Sep-19Oct-19Nov-19Dec-19
Total 1674 years
Activity rate 80.5 80.5 80.9 81.1 80.5 80.7
Employment rate 77.4 77.3 77.9 78.1 77.4 77.6
Unemployment rate 3.4 4.4 3.6 3.4 4.1 3.9
Hours of work 39.5 40.1 40.1 40.4 40.3 39.9
Labour force 208,300 205,700 208,100 210,200 205,800 209,100
Employed 199,700 196,500 200,500 202,800 198,200 202,200
Unemployed 6,700 8,900 6,800 7,100 7,100 7,300
Inactive 48,200 51,100 49,200 47,500 52,600 49,700
Est. population 256,300 256,800 257,300 257,900 258,400 258,900

Table 3. Labour market last 6 months seasonal adjustment trend
 Jul-19Aug-19Sep-19Oct-19Nov-19Dec-19
Total 1674 years
Activity rate 80.7 80.7 80.8 80.8 80.7 80.7
Employment rate 77.7 77.6 77.8 77.8 77.7 77.6
Unemployment rate 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 3.8
Hours of work 39.9 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.2 40.1
Labour force 208,000 208,000 208,200 208,400 208,600 208,900
Employed 199,300 199,300 200,000 200,800 201,100 201,200
Unemployed 7,100 7,300 7,400 7,300 7,300 7,200
Inactive 48,500 49,000 49,200 49,500 49,700 49,800
Est. population 256,300 256,800 257,300 257,900 258,400 258,900

About the data
The labour force survey in December 2019 covers four weeks, from 1 December 2019 to 4 January 2020. A random sample of 1,880 persons aged 16–74 years who were domiciled in Iceland were randomly selected from tha National Registry. Excluding those who were deceased or residing abroad, the net sample was 1,136 individuals. A total of usable answers were obtained from 968 individuals, which corresponds to a response rate of 60.7%.

We note that numbers for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2019 have now been updated.

Statistics