Finland’s Unemployment Rate Jumps to Four-Year High of 10.8%

Finland’s unemployment rate rose to its highest since May 2009 as the Nordic nation’s recession prompted exporters to cut jobs.

The jobless rate, which isn’t adjusted for seasonal variations, rose to 10.8 percent last month from 8.8 percent in April and 9.5 percent a year ago, Helsinki-based Statistics Finland said today. Unemployment tends to peak in May as students enter the labor market, the statistics office said.

“In light of these numbers, it seems even more necessary for the government to come up with a credible employment and stimulus package in the budget negotiations,” Labor Minister Lauri Ihalainen said in a statement. “I expect Finnish companies to do their part through investments to help reduce unemployment.”

Finland is suffering its second recession in four years as household demand fails to offset a slump in exports to the euro area. Its gross domestic product contracted 0.1 percent in the first quarter after a 0.7 percent drop in the prior three months. The government will debate next year’s budget in August.

“Job markets continue on a weakening track,” Pasi Sorjonen, Helsinki-based economist at Nordea Bank AB said in a note to clients. “The pace is a bit unclear. April numbers seemed too bright and the couple of months before that appeared too weak. There’s reason to suspect these May figures may be slightly too bleak.”

The jobless rate will rise to an average 8.3 percent this year from 7.7 in 2012, the Finance Ministry said last week. About 10.9 percent of working-age people were without jobs in May 2009. Youth unemployment rose to 35.2 percent, an increase of 4.5 percentage points in a year.