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Finland’s Unemployment Rate Falls to Three-Year Low of 6.2%

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Finland’s jobless rate dropped to the lowest in three years last month, boosted by domestic demand.

The unemployment rate, which isn’t adjusted for seasonal variations, fell to 6.2 percent in November from 7 percent in October, Helsinki-based Statistics Finland said today. The rate was 6.1 percent in December 2008.

“The economy grew at a good pace in the autumn,” Reijo Heiskanen, chief economist at OP-Pohjola Group in Helsinki, said by phone today. “The service industry and the domestic markets have continued to function well.”

The better-than-estimated rate last month means the year’s average unemployment rate may be better than OP-Pohjola’s forecast of 7.9 percent, provided that employment “doesn’t collapse” this month, Heiskanen said. The number of people with jobs rose by 70,000 from a year earlier, the statistics office said.

Even so, Finland’s economy is slowing as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis deepens. Exports make up 40 percent of its economy and a third of Finnish sales abroad go to the 17-nation single currency area.

“We’re seeing signs of weakening growth in industry and exports,” Heiskanen said. “For that to show in employment numbers will take some time.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at kpohjanpalo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

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