The number of unemployed people in Iceland in January was 7,000 people according to seasonally adjusted figures from Statistics Iceland's labour market survey, or 3.4% of the labour force. Seasonally adjusted labour force participation was 81% while the seasonally adjusted percentage of employed persons was 78%.
Seasonally adjusted unemployment trends continue to be steady while a slight upward trend in the percentage of employed persons is seen over the past six months, or from 77.6% in August to 77.9% in January. A slight upward trend is also observed in labour force participation over the same period, or by 0.2 percentage points.
According to an unadjusted survey it is estimated that around 209,000 people aged 16-74 years were on the labour market in January 2020. This is equivalent to 80.7% (± 2.6) activity rate. Of the labour force 201,500 (± 3,000) were found to be employed and 7,400 (± 700) were unemployed and looking for work. Thus, the employment rate was 77.8% (± 2.4) and the unadjusted unemployment rate was 3.6% (± 1.1).
When the unemployement rate is compared with that of January last year a 0.7 percentage point increase is observed as well as a 1.4 percentage point decrease in the employment rate.
It should be noted that all numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred and results are weighted by sex and age groups. All numbers for January 2020 are preliminary until the end of the 1st quarter.
Flow Chart — Labour force 16–74 years — January 2020 unadjusted measures.
Figure 1. Figures may not add up because of rounding. CI (95%) Unemployment rate: Total ±1.1; males ±1.5; females ±1.9.
|Table 1. Labour market in January — unadjusted measures|
|Total 16–74 years|
|Hours of work||38.5||1.2||38.4||1.0||37.8||0.8|
|Table 2. Labour market last 6 months — seasonal adjustment|
|Total 16–74 years|
|Hours of work||40.1||40.1||40.4||40.3||39.9||39.6|
|Table 3. Labour market last 6 months — seasonal adjustment trend|
|Total 16–74 years|
|Hours of work||40.0||40.1||40.2||40.2||40.1||40.0|
About the data
The labour force survey in January covers five weeks, from December 30th, 2020 to February 2nd, 2020. A random sample of 1,909 persons aged 16–74 years who were domiciled in Iceland were randomly selected from the National Registry. Excluding those who were deceased or residing abroad the net sample was 1,868 individuals. A total of usable answers were obtained from 1,183 individuals which corresponds to a response rate of 63.3%.
In recent years, participation in the Icelandic Labour Force Survey has decreased. Since 2012, the total response rate has dropped from about 85% to about 60%. Although this development is in line with developments in response rates within other European countires the monthly figures for the Icelandic Labour Force Survey are particularly sensitive to changes in the response rate of specific groups because of small sample sizes. One such group constitutes those who are unemployed.
In the Labour Force Survey data in January 2020 a considerably high rate of total non-response was observed among those who were registered as unemployed during the reference period. In order to address attrition in the measurement of unemployment, unemployment status was imputed for those who were registered as unemployed and had been defined as unemployed in previous surveys when contacted - or had defined themselves as unemployed.
In this context, it is proper to note that Statistics Iceland defines unmemployment in line with the definition used by the International Labour Organization. According to this definition, those are considered as unemployed who 1) are without a paid job in the reference period, 2) are actively seeking a paid job on the Icelandic labour market, and 3) could start working within two weeks if they were offered a job.
Hence, the definition used by Statistics Iceland is more specific than the right to receive unemployment benefits - which in turn partly explains the difference between unemployment numbers published by Statistics Iceland and the unemployment numbers published by the Icelandic Directorate of Labour.