The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December 2021 was 4.6% according to figures from the Icelandic Labour Force Survey. The seasonally adjusted activity rate was 79.2% and the seasonally adjusted employment rate 75.5%. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased by 2,8 percentage points between years and the employment rate increased by three percentage points. The seasonally adjusted trend of unemployment was 4.9% in December 2021 and has decreased by 0.6 percentage points over the last six months. Seasonally adjusted trend of employment was 75.1% in December 2021 and has increased by 0.5 percentage points over the last six months, from July 2021.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men was 5.1% in December 2021 while the unemployment rate for women measured 4.2%. The difference in unemployment between men and women was relatively small in the last 8 months of the year, or between 0.2-1.1 percentage points excluding October when the rate for men was 2.6 percentage points higher than for women. A greater difference can be seen between men and women in the beginning of 2021, from January to April 2021, when the unemployement rate for women was 2.8-4.7 percentage points higher than for men.
Based on unadjusted measures, the number of 16-74 year olds active in the labour market was estimated to be 208,900 (± 6,800) in December 2021, which is equivalent to 78% (± 2.5) activity rate. Of the labour force, 199,700 (± 5,400) were employed and 9,200 (± 2,700) unemployed and looking for a job. The employment rate was estimated to be 74.6% (± 2.7) and the unemployment rate 4.4% (± 1.3). Employed individuals worked 32.5 (±1.0) hours on average per week in December 2021. Compared with December 2020 the unemployment rate decreased by two and a half percentage points between years and the employment rate increased by three percentage points.
It is estimated that 27,300 individuals had an unmet need for employment (labour market slack) in December 2021, which corresponds to 12.4% of the labour force and potential labour force. Of those individuals, 33.4% were unemployed, 31.6% willing to work but not looking, 9.3% in search of a job but not ready to work and 25.7% working part-time and wanting to work more. Compared with December 2020,the labour market slack has decreased by 4.4 percentage points between years. The seasonally adjusted trend of the labour market slack has slightly decreased over the last six months or by 0.4 percentage points.
Please note that the sum of sub-items might be inconsistent with the overall results due to rounding.
About the data
The Icelandic Labour Force Survey for December 2021 covers five weeks, from 29 November 29th through 2 January 2nd 2022. The sample consisted of 1,912 individuals, 16-74 years old with legal residence in Iceland. Excluding those from the sample who were living abroad or deceased, the net sample consisted of 1,882 individuals. Usable answers were obtained fom 1,182 individuals which corresponds to 62.8% response rate.