TALLINN - The statistics office has reported that Estonia's jobless rate in the second quarter of this year was 8.1 percent, the lowest in the past 10 years.
According to results of a labor poll, there were 609,000 employees, 54,000 jobless and 385,000 persons not active on the labor market in the 15-74 age group.
The number of those employed increased compared with 2004, while the number of unemployed declined, the Estonian Statistical Office said.
Economists said that the fall in the jobless rate was in accordance with expectations, although the fall had been bigger than forecast.
Sampo Bank analyst Anne Karik-Uustalu told the Baltic News Service that she had forecast the rate to be 9.3 percent for this year. But in light of the latest figures, the actual rate could be 9 percent or even lower, she said.
Hansabank analyst Maris Lauri said that the positive trends on the labor market were tangible and that now they have been confirmed by statistics. He too predicted that the average unemployment rate for the year would be 9 percent.
Analysts also forecast that the employment rate will increase. Consequently, the shortage of working hands, they added, will lead to a relatively fast growth in wages.
Employment in the service and agricultural sectors increased in the second quarter against the same period last year. According to statistics office information, the number of those employed in the hospitality industry, real estate, leasing, business and education increased.
The rate of unemployment was the highest in northeast Estonia, where it was as high as 16.1 percent. Unemployment increased slightly in the western part of the country year-on-year but was still the lowest in the country at 5.7 percent. The rate of unemployment declined in all the other areas, the Statistical Office said.