Norway jobless at nine-year high: report

Norway’s unemployment rate has hit a nine-year high on the back of the downturn in the oil industry, with 4.2 percent of the workforce without jobs, Statistics Norway has reported.

Norway jobless at nine-year high: report
A Nav unemployment centre in Tøyen, an area of Oslo with a high proportion of immigrants. Foto: © Svein Nordrum / NTB scanpix
The downbeat numbers were picked up on by Norway’s Labour Party which accused Norway’s right-wing coalition of not taking strong enough action to stimulate the economy into creating more jobs. 
“Experience shows us that an increase in unemployment has a self-reinforcing power if it is not stopped,” Dag Terje Andersen, the Labour party’s spokesman on employment issues, told NTB. “This has been ignored by the government, which in fact has stated that they will not take action until the unemployment rate increases.” 
According to Statistics Norway, the number of unemployed increased to 117,000 in January to April this year, 7,000 more than in the previous three months. 
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that the challenges faced by the Norwegian economy were greater than expected and pledged to take more actions to increase the number of jobs in the budget next year. 

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How the population of Norway has changed in 2021

A potential lockdown baby boom and the impact of entry restrictions on immigration are amongst possible observations from a new statistics report on Norway's population.

How the population of Norway has changed in 2021
Norway's fertility rate may rise if births continue to go up. Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

During the first three months of the year, 13,960 children were born in Norway, nearly 700 more than the same period last year, new figures from Statistics Norway show. 

Typically, during health crises and times of financial uncertainty, such as the current coronavirus pandemic, birth rates tend to fall, but the opposite effect seems apparent in the new data.

If this trend continues, then the fertility rate in Norway may rise. That measure is currently 1.48 children per woman as of 2020. 

“We are very surprised by these figures. It is also quite striking that the increase in births began roughly nine months after the first coronavirus restrictions were introduced last year,” Statistics Norway executive officer Ane Magritte Tømmerås said in the report. 

The number of recorded deaths was lower than in the corresponding quarter of 2020. 10,100 people passed in Norway during the first quarter of this year, 700 fewer compared to the same period last year. Death rates have fallen consistently in Norway for several years. It should be noted that the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Norway towards the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Additionally, death rates declined within many age groups. The decline was particularly prominent in men over 90. In 2021, 58.2 men in this age group per 1,000 passed away in the first quarter compared to 67.7 per 1,000 in the first three months of last year. 

Death rate per 1,000 by gender and age group in the first quarter. Source: Statistics Norway

Immigration was up during the early months of 2021 compared to 2020. However, the first quarter of 2021 saw the second-lowest level of immigration since 2006. 

This may, in part, be due to strict border restrictions that have been in place since January and limit entry to very few people outside of residents and citizens of Norway. 

READ MORE: Travel: Norway extends Covid travel restrictions 

In total, 11,200 immigrants registered in Norway in the first three months of this year. 

Total number of people immigrating to Norway during the first quarter. Source: Statistics Norway

Overall, the population of Norway grew by 7,400 people during the first quarter. The population in Norway is now estimated to be 5,398,804. 

Statistics Norway also found that more people were relocating from big cities. Bergen, Stavanger and Kristiansand had more people move out than in, albeit by a small margin.

“This is very unusual. This has happened in some quarters before, but never in the first quarter,” said Magnus Haug of Statistics Norway.

On the other hand, Oslo saw a larger increase in people moving out. Oslo saw 1,900 more people move out than in.