According to seasonally adjusted figures from the Icelandic Labour Force Survey, 11,900 individuals were unemployed in May 2021, or 5.8% of the labour force. The seasonally adjusted activity rate was 77.9% and the seasonally adjusted employment rate 72.2%. Compared with April 2021 the seasonally adjusted activity rate decreased by 1.0 percentage points between months and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 2.8 percentage points. The trend of the unemployment rate has been consistent over the last six months while the trend of the activity rate increased by 0.8 percentage points. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of individuals aged 16-24 years decreased by 13.7 percentage points between months.

Based on unadjusted measures, the number of 16-74 year olds active in the labour market was estimated to be 210,600 (±6,900) in May 2021, which is equivalent to an activity rate of 80.0% (±2.6). Of active individuals, the number of employed persons was estimated to be 192,900 (±5,700) and 17,600 (±3,800) were estimated to be unemployed and looking for a job. The employment rate was estimated to be 73.3% (±3.0) and the unemployment rate 8.4% (±1.8). Employed in the Icelandic labour market were estimated to have worked 35 (±1.2) hours on average in May 2021. Compared with May 2020 the employment rate increased by 3.5 percentage points between years and the unemployment rate decreased by 3.3 percentage points.

The number of individuals with unmet need for employment were estimated to be 36,500 in May 2021 which is equivalent to 16.6% of the labour force and potential labour force. Of those individuals, 48.4% were unemployed, 16.1% ready to work but not looking for a job, 10.5% looking but not ready to work and 25.0% underemployed. Comparison with the previous year shows a 3.3 percentage points decrease between years in labour market slack. The trend of labour market slack has been stable over the last three months at 14.4% but the trend has decreased by 1.1 percentage points over the last six months.

The sum of sub-items might be inconsistent with the overall results due to rounding.

About the data
The Labour Force Survey for May 2021 covers four weeks, from 3 May through 30 May 2021. The sample consisted of 1,536 individuals, 16-74 years old and domiciled in Iceland. When those who were domiciled abroad or deceased had been excluded, the net sample consisted of 1,516 individuals. Usable answers were obtained from 996 individuals which corresponds to a 65.7% response rate.


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