As labor markets recover across most of the rest of the euro zone, its only Nordic member is being left behind.
A report on Wednesday showed Finland’s unemployment rate jumped to its highest level in 13 years, reaching 11.8 percent of the workforce in May. The gauge, which isn’t adjusted for seasonal swings, showed an increase from 10.3 percent in April.
For the new government of Prime Minister Juha Sipila, the figures are alarming as policy makers begin to push through a reform agenda that they hope will foster growth and end job losses.
“Employment has weakened over the past year at a worrying pace,” Jari Lindstrom, minister of justice and labor, said in a statement. “The fast growth pace of long-term unemployment is particularly concerning.”
Finland’s rising joblessness breaks with signs of improvement in the euro zone, where unemployment has gradually declined over the past two years. The region’s average still masks significant divergences, with Spain’s April jobless rate at 22.7 percent, compared with 4.7 percent for Germany, according to seasonally adjusted data from Eurostat.
The economy of Finland, whose bond yields show investors still regard its debt markets as a haven from crisis turbulence, has contracted for the past three years. Sipila has promised to revive the private sector in order to create jobs and drag Finland out of its economic misery.