Situation room report 18.2.2021 – latest developments in the labor market, households and firms

February 18, 2021

The Helsinki GSE situation room continues publishing reports based on up-to-date data every other week. The reports follow the economy’s development from the labor market’s, households’ and firms’ perspectives.

The background information for the figures has been collected from the Statistics Finland’s registers. Some of the figures are under updating, and therefore this report exceptionally includes only labor market figures. 

Labor market

Labor market – Earnings

When examining earnings figures, please keep in mind that information is uploaded to the Income Register with varying degrees of lag, so the figures may always slightly change in the future. Therefore, the January 2021 information should be considered preliminary.

The figure below shows monthly earnings in 2019, 2020 and in January 2021 based on the Income Register. 2020 started at a higher level than the previous year but since April earnings were lower than 2019, apart from a few exceptions, with the greatest fall happening in May. In October, earnings again clearly exceeded 2019. There was a drop in November’s earnings, but in December earnings were again above the level of 2019. Earnings in January 2021 appears to be clearly below 2020, but the result is preliminary.

The following three figures represent the portion of employed workers of those who started employment, furlough or unemployment spell during the month pointed out. In the first figure, around 20% of those starting an unemployment spell in April 2020 were employed during April 2020 whereas in May 2020 merely 10% were employed. The first and the second picture can be compared to determine whether the return to employment during the pandemic differs to return to employment in regular times. There is a more severe drop in employment in 2020, but employment soon recovers to around 80%, which is also true in 2019 (although in 2020 their employment slightly drops again). The third picture shows that furlough spells in September 2020 did not lead to as severe drops in employment as in April 2020. Employment is defined as receiving earnings of at least 1000€ per month.

The figure below compares the industry level earnings in January between 2019, 2020 and 2021. Earnings in hotels and restaurants, support services, logistics, construction, and manufacturing appear to be lower in January 2021 than in 2020. However, the earnings in January 2021 may still increase as the information is preliminary.

The following three figures show the total labor earnings in Finnish municipalities in December 2019 and 2020. The first figure shows the total labor earnings in Finland’s 20 largest municipalities, while the second figure shows the percentage changes. In December, Porvoo, Vantaa and Järvenpää had the largest drops in relative earnings.

The third figure shows the ten municipalities with the best and the worst performance, among all municipalities. In December, the sum of earnings dropped most in Naantali (-4,4%).

The next two figures compare labor earnings by age group between December 2019 and 2020. In both absolute and relative terms, the age group of under 25 years suffered the largest decrease. Earnings for those over 64 and those aged 50-54 also decreased. Earnings have either stayed nearly the same or increased in all other age groups. Earnings increased most among those aged 60-64, 45-49 and 55-59.

The next figure displays the relative change in labor earnings by occupation in December 2020 for the occupations with the largest change.

Labor market – furloughs and layoffs

The figure below shows the weekly new furlough and unemployment spells in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The amount of new spells increased the most in the beginning of the crisis, but since then the amount of weekly spells has been lower. Throughout 2020, the amount of new furlough spells was above 2019 level. In the beginning of 2021, the amount of new furlough spells is still high compared to 2019.

  • Additional information about the Helsinki GSE Situation Room consisting of researchers from Helsinki GSE, University of Turku, VATT Institute of Economic Research and Statistics Finland:
  • Additional information about the report: Otto Toivanen, otto.toivanen [at]
  • Suggested citation in mediaCite Helsinki GSE Situation Room as the source with a link to website.
  • Suggested citation in academic publications:please contact otto.toivanen [at]