Wages and productivity became better aligned in the second quarter

Orsolya Soosaar
Orsolya Soosaar
Economist at Eesti Pank

Statistics Estonia estimates that employment increased by 1.7% in the second quarter of 2015, and that the unemployment rate stood at 6.5%. Seasonally adjusted, more people were employed than in the first quarter, mainly because of industry. This shows that weak growth in exports has not significantly affected the employment statistics.

The unemployment rate in the second quarter of the year remained at about the same level as in the first quarter. Seasonal factors mean that unemployment is lower in the spring than in the winter, so if they are taken into account, then unemployment increased. The labour force survey run by Statistics Estonia shows that the reason for this was that a larger part of the working age population participated in the labour force than had previously been the case.

Data on registered unemployment from Töötukassa, the unemployment insurance fund, give a slightly less optimistic picture than before. Although the number registered as unemployed is still falling year-on-year, monthly comparison shows that it started to rise in June and July. More new unemployed are being registered than a year ago, and fewer people are being de-registered because of finding employment.

Given the flash estimate from Statistics Estonia of 1.9% for economic growth, the fall in productivity can be seen to have slowed in the second quarter. Data from the Tax and Customs Board show that growth in the average wage paid out slowed at the same time, which indicates that wage pressures eased, having been strong for a long time. The payroll still increased as a share of GDP, but notably more slowly than in the previous quarter.

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