Norway Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Drops to 3% in September

Norway’s unemployment unexpectedly fell in the September quarter as a boom in the country’s oil and gas sector soaked up available labor.

The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate fell to 3 percent in the August to October period from 3.1 percent, Statistics Norway said today. The median estimate of eight economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a rate of 3.1 percent.

Central bank Deputy Governor Jan F. Qvigstad said last week that the economy has been “overheated” for the past six months as low interest rates fuel a credit-driven housing boom. The bank, which has held its benchmark rate at 1.5 percent since March, has signaled it may begin to tighten monetary policy between March and August next year.

Europe’s second-largest oil and gas exporter has withstood the euro area’s debt crisis as record petroleum investments feed through to the rest of the economy. Boosted by consumer spending, gross domestic product, excluding oil, gas and shipping, grew 0.7 percent in the third quarter, slowing from 0.8 percent in the prior quarter, a report yesterday showed.

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