The unemployed labour force included 480 thousand people in 2004. In addition, half a million people sought to enter the labour market, but could not find a job at short notice or were not actively looking for a job. The current economic slump did not discourage active job-seekers.
Increase in unemployment
The economic slump which prevailed in recent years became manifest in a rising unemployment rate. Since 2001 the unemployed labour force increased by 230 thousand to 480 thousand in 2004. This is almost twice the amount of unemployed in 2001.
Less than half of people willing to work are unemployed
A person is defined as unemployed, if he/she is able to accept work at short notice and actively seeking work. There is, however, a large group of people who want to work, but do not meet these conditions. For instance, there is a group of 300 thousand people able to start working soon, but who were not actively looking for a job. Another 200 thousand people wanted a job, but, for whatever reason, were not to start within a short period of time. Altogether, nearly one million people were involuntary unemployed in 2004.
Inactive population aged 15-64, 2004
More people actively seeking jobs
The economic slump did not discourage active job-seekers. The number of people willing to work has risen by over 300 thousand since 2001. The unemployed labour force was by far the fastest growing category. This category is closest to the labour market. The number of people who were available for a job, but not within a short period of time, did not change, whereas the group who were not actively seeking work increased marginally.
Jobless people willing to work aged 15-64
Fewer women stay at home to provide care
In addition to one million people who want to work, there are nearly 3 million people in the 15-64 age bracket who are not seeking jobs. There are various reasons for not wanting a job, e.g. study, running a household, disability or early retirement. This group is shrinking, mainly because fewer women stay at home to take care of husband and children. In 2004 this group had shrunk by 250 thousand compared to 2001.
People in the 15-64 age bracket who do not a job by reason