Labour market information

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Norway - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


Due to regional reforms involving the merging of counties, and a break in the timeline used for the statistical basis, Norway's LMI will differ somewhat this time from the norm and what is considered the standard.

Population: 5 328 212 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

70.1% of the Norwegian population is in the labour force (aged 15-74) as at 1 January 2019.

At the end of March 2019, 82 900 people were registered as fully unemployed or as jobseekers participating in labour market measures at the NAV [Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration]. Gross unemployment now accounts for 3% of the workforce, compared with 3.2% in 2018. 66 300 people were registered as unemployed (note that net unemployment is used in the regional overview). This corresponds to 2.4% of the workforce, down from 2.5% from 2018. 16 600 jobseekers participated in measures in March. This represents 0.6% of the workforce.

It is worth mentioning that there are two measures of unemployment in Norway. The NAV’s unemployment figures show the number of people registered as jobseekers with the NAV. Statistics Norway's Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a sample survey which maps the labour force, employment and unemployment. People without work who are not entitled to unemployment benefits or to participate in labour market measures may lack incentives to register as jobseekers with the NAV, whilst responding to the LFS that they are unemployed and actively seeking work. This is one of the reasons for the discrepancy between the number of people registered as unemployed with the NAV and the LFS figures.

According to Statistics Norway, 67.5% of the population were employed as of 1 January 2019. Statistics Norway's Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows that 108 000 people were unemployed in January, adjusted for seasonal variations. This corresponds to 3.9% of the workforce. Although LFS unemployment fell throughout 2016 and 2017, it has remained fairly stable over the past year. This is because both employment and the labour force participation rate have increased.

In recent months, however, the growth in both employment and the workforce has stopped, while unemployment has remained stable.


Developments in the Norwegian economy

The positive growth in the Norwegian economy continues. The gross domestic product (GDP) for mainland Norway increased by 0.8% from the three-month period of August to October to the three-month period of November-January. Strong growth in primary industries contributed to this, together with, among other things, growth in the retail trade and services related to the oil industry.

Norges Bank chose to raise the interest rate by 0.25% in March, and warns that new interest rate increases will probably occur during the next half year. They estimate that the recovery in the Norwegian economy will continue, partly due to strong growth in oil investments this year. From 2020, they anticipate a somewhat weaker development.

Statistics Norway also estimates in its new forecasts that the recovery in the Norwegian economy will continue, albeit at a moderate pace. They estimate that unemployment will remain relatively stable, but this is partly due to the fact that the labour force participation rate is increasing so that more people are entering the labour market. Statistics Norway also points to developments in the international economy as an important element of uncertainty in the future.


Text last edited on: 05/2019

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