Sickness absence dropped sharply in the third quarter of 2003. In the private sector it fell by one fifth compared with one year previously. This is a larger decrease than that in the first two quarters of 2003. For the government sector the fall was smaller.
Strong fall continues in private sector
The rate of sickness absence for private companies was 4.1 percent on average in the third quarter of 2003. This means that on average one in every twenty-five workers reported in sick in this period. Twelve months previously this rate was 5.0 percent. It should be taken into account that seasonal effects always push down absence through illness in the third quarter.
Sickness absence private sector, third quarter
Decrease now three quarters in a row
This is the third successive quarter that private sector absence through illness has fallen substantially. In the first and second quarters the fall on twelve months previously were 0.6 and 0.7 percent point respectively. The 0.9 of a percent point drop in the third quarter is stronger.
Decrease across the board
The strongest fall in absence through illness was in the sector agriculture and fishery, where it fell from 3.2 to 2.2 percent in the space on one year. In both commercial and non-commercial sectors it fell by 0.9 of a percent point to 3.6 and 4.9 percent respectively. In manufacturing and construction there was a fall of 0.6 of a percent point to 4.9 percent.
Sickness absence in the care sector, change on twelve months previously
Less absence in care sector in particular
The fall in sickness through absence in the non-commercial sector was mainly caused by the decrease in absence in health care and welfare. Sickness absence in these sectors is now at its lowest for ten years. In 1998 and 1999 absence in these sectors rose strongly, but subsequently started to decrease again, partly because of better working conditions and measures to combat absence through illness.
Sickness absence , government sector, third quarter
Smaller decrease for government sector
Sickness absence for public sector workers fell from 6.1 percent in the third quarter of 2002 to 5.7 percent in the third quarter of 2003. This decrease was smaller than in 2002, when it was 1.1 percent points lower than one year previously.