Finnish Unemployment Unexpectedly Drops as More Leave Workforce

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Finland’s unemployment rate unexpectedly declined to the lowest since November 2011, masking a worsening labor market as more people dropped out of the workforce.

Unemployment, not adjusted for seasonal swings, was 6.6 percent in July, compared with 7.8 percent in June and 6.9 percent a year earlier, Helsinki-based Statistics Finland said today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated a rate of 7.4 percent, according to the median of three estimates.

Finland’s $255 billion economy is suffering from a drop in demand from abroad. Companies including Metso Oyj, a maker of paper machines, and Konecranes Oyj, are cutting jobs in the nation of 5.4 million people.

About 43,000 fewer people were employed and 64,000 more people inactive in July compared with a year earlier, the statistics office said. Those with jobs numbered 2.57 million as the employment rate fell 1 percentage point to 71.7 percent.

The number of job seekers at the employment offices rose by 43,000 to 319,000, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy said.

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