Directorate of Labour Aims to Tackle Long-Term Unemployment Skip to content
Westman Islands fish processing plant
Photo: Golli. Workers share some laughs at a fish processing plant in the Westman Islands.

Directorate of Labour Aims to Tackle Long-Term Unemployment

“It’s very difficult mentally and physically to be unemployed for a long time, especially mentally, all studies show that,” Unnur Sverrisdóttir, Director of the Directorate of Labour, stated in a radio interview on Rás 2 this morning. “That’s why we will focus on that group this winter, to try to help those who we think are maybe at risk of leaving the job market for good. There’s a lot to be gained by helping people.”

When the pandemic left many locals unemployed in Iceland last year, The Directorate of Labour hired around 100 new employees to respond to the increased strain on services. While unemployment rates have dropped significantly since the height of the crisis, Unnur says it’s now important to focus on those who haven’t managed to find new jobs or perhaps don’t foresee finding work again.

“We have a very good group of study and career counsellors who get in touch with these people and offer them interviews and all sorts of courses that people get the opportunity to attend in order to get off the ground. Because everyone that is [receiving unemployment benefits] is coming from the labour market, they have earned the right to unemployment benefits through work, so we know that these were once people who were able to work.”

The Directorate of Labour reported an unemployment rate of 5.5% in August, a decrease from 6.1% in July. The rate has almost halved since April of this year when it measured 10.4%.

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