There were 209,300 persons aged from 16 to 74 in the labour force in May 2018, according to the Icelandic Labour Force Survey. Thereof, 201,100 persons were employed and 8,200 persons were unemployed. The activity rate was 83.4%, employment rate was 80.1% and unemployment rate was 3.9%.

Comparison between May 2017 and 2018 shows that while the labour force increased by 6,000, the activity rate decreased by 1.3 percentage points. The number of people in employment increased by 8,100 although the share of people employed of the estimated population decreased by 0.3 percentage points.

The number of unemployed decreased by 2,100 since May 2017, with a decrease in the unemployment rate by 1.2 percentage points. Those who were considered inactive in May 2018 were 41,700 compared with 36,600 persons in May 2017.

Flow Chart — Labour force 16–74 years — May 2018


Figures may not add up because of rounding. CI (95%) Unemployment rate: Total ±1.2; males ±1.8; females ±1.7.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment was 2.3% in May 2018
Changes in the Icelandic labour market display a seasonal pattern as can be seen in the figures below. The seasonally adjusted estimate of the number of people in the labour force was 204,900 in May 2018. This corresponds to an 81.6% activity rate which is a 0.7 percentage point decrease from the activity rate in April. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed persons in May 2018 was estimated to be 4,700, a decrease of 2,400 persons since April.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.3% in May 2018 compared with 3.5% in April, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points between months.

The seasonally adjusted employment rate was 79.7% in May 2018, which is a 0.3 percentage point increase since April. The estimated number of inactive people increased by 2,000, from 44,200 in April 2018 to 46,200 in May 2018.

There seems to be a considerable change in both the direct measure of unemployment and the seasonally adjusted data, particularly among young people aged 16 to 24. These seasonal changes are to be expected as this group usually starts looking for work by the end of the school year.

Moreover, the trend for seasonally adjusted data for activity, employment and unemployment rates in the last six months shows these labour market numbers mostly stayed the same. Hence, the Icelandic labour market may be viewed as stable and that these labour market numbers are in line with previously published labour market numbers over the last 6 months.


Implementation
May 2018 is divided into five weeks, from 6th of May to 3rd of June. The total sample size for the Labour Force Survey was 1,930 persons, 16–74 years old, selected randomly from the registered population. When individuals out of scope had been removed from the sample, the net sample was 1,856 persons. In total, the number of answers was 1,205 corresponding to 64.9% response rate.

The results are weighted by sex and age groups. The confidence limit of the estimates on activity rate is ±2.0 percentage points, employment rate ±2.2 percentage points and unemployment rate ±1.2 percentage points, for May 2018. Figures may not add up because of rounding. It should be noted that all numbers for the first two months in every quarter of the year are preliminary until the end of the quarter.

Table 1. Labour market in May — Original
    CI   CI   CI
  2016 (±95%) 2017 (±95%) 2018 (±95%)
Total 16–74 years            
Activity rate 85.9 2.2 84.7 2.4 83.4 2
Employment rate 82.6 2.5 80.4 2.7 80.1 2.2
Unemployment rate 3.9 1.5 5.1 1.8 3.9 1.2
Hours of work 41.4 1.3 41.9 1.4 39.7 1.2
Labour force 201,400 5,200 203,300 5,700 209,300 5,000
Employed 193,600 5,800 193,000 6,600 201,100 5,500
Unemployed 7,800 3,000 10,300 3,800 8,200 2,600
Inactive 33,100 5,200 36,600 5,700 41,700 5,000
Est. population 234,500 239,900 251,000
Table 2. Labour market last 6 months — seasonal adjustment
  Dec-17 Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Total 16–74 years            
Activity rate 82.8 83.1 81.0 82.1 82.3 81.6
Employment rate 80.0 80.4 79.1 80.0 79.4 79.7
Unemployment rate 3.4 3.3 2.3 2.6 3.5 2.3
Hours of work 40.2 40.0 39.2 39.9 40.7 38.7
Labour force 204,300 205,100 200,600 204,900 205,700 204,900
Employed 197,400 198,400 196,000 199,600 198,600 200,200
Unemployed 6,900 6,700 4,600 5,300 7,100 4,700
Inactive 42,400 41,800 47,200 44,800 44,200 46,200
Est. population 246,700 246,900 247,700 249,700 249,900 251,100
Table 3. Labour market last 6 months — seasonal adjustment trend
  Dec-17 Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18 Apr-18 May-18
Total 16–74 years            
Activity rate 82.2 82.2 82.2 82.2 82.2 82.2
Employment rate 79.8 79.9 79.9 79.9 79.9 79.9
Unemployment rate 2.9 2.9 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8
Hours of work 39.8 39.8 39.8 39.8 39.8 39.8
Labour force 202,200 202,800 203,200 203,200 203,600 204,000
Employed 196,400 197,000 197,500 197,500 197,900 198,300
Unemployed 5,800 5,800 5,700 5,700 5,700 5,700
Inactive 43,800 43,900 44,000 44,000 44,100 44,200
Est. population 246,000 246,700 247,200 247,200 247,800 248,200

Statistics