Norways’s state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) announced a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate on Thursday of 4.6 percent for February. SSB’s numbers showed that around 130,000 people are now wholly without work, roughly the same as in November of last year.
State broadcaster NRK reported that the unemployment rate thus appears to have stabilized, after a sharper rise in 2015. SSB’s so-called Arbeidskraftsundersøkelse (AKU) unemployment rate, which measures the strength of the workforce, rose from 3.2 percent in May 2014 to 4.6 percent last August. It has stayed at around that level since.
Even though more people are being laid off, not all immediately apply for unemployment benefits. State welfare agency NAV’s unemployment numbers can thus differ from SSB’s, which also showed an AKU rate of 4.9 percent for the entire quarter. It was based on feedback from employers and reflects problems in the oil sector.
The AKU survey of employers now shows 9,000 fewer employees within the oil and gas sector than in the first quarter of last year, and 12,000 fewer within Norwegian industry as a whole. Men were hit the hardest, with 5.7 percent of men aged 15 to 74 unemployed, compared to 4.0 percent of women.