Unemployment Rate Decreases in Iceland Skip to content

Unemployment Rate Decreases in Iceland

Unemployment in Iceland measured 7.2 percent in September, down from 7.7 percent in August. Currently 12,145 people are registered as unemployed, according to the Directorate of Labor.

A construction site in Iceland in 2004. The construction sector has been hit hard by the recession. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

However, the situation is expected to worsen by one percent per month until February 2010, depending, of course, on the operational conditions of companies, as Karl Sigurdsson, director of employment affairs at the Directorate of Labor, told Morgunbladid.

According to Gudný Hardardóttir, managing director of employment agency STRÁ MRI, available jobs are mostly for people with specialized skills within the software and finance sector and at utility companies.

There is currently a lack of programmers, system analysts, accountants, lawyers and economists in Iceland.

“The wheels of the economy appear to be turning a bit forward again,” said Hardardóttir, adding that people are not efficient enough in registering with employment agencies. “In 2007 we had more new registrations than today, which I find a scary development.”

When asked for a reason for that development, Hardardóttir said society is characterized by certain numbness and that many people are full of hopelessness, which to a certain extent can be explained by the media painting a darker picture of the situation than necessary. Now the time is right for pioneers and start-ups.

“Unfortunately a certain change of attitude has occurred in society that it is alright to be unemployed. Last summer I experienced—for the first time in my 25-year career—that people searching for work were not prepared to start working even if a job was available. That especially applied to work […] in offices and shops,” Hardardóttir described.

“I unfortunately noticed that too many people were prepared to continue to receive wage-related unemployment benefits and have the summer in peace and would rather start working in the fall,” Hardardóttir concluded.

Click here to read more about unemployment in Iceland.

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