Situation room report 22.7.2021 – latest developments in the labor market, households and firms

July 22, 2021

The Helsinki GSE situation room continues to publish 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.

Labor market

Labor market – earnings

The figure below shows monthly earnings in 2019–2021 based on the Incomes Register. Largest decrease in earnings seems to have been in May 2020. Earnings returned above previous years’ levels in February 2021. In May 2021 earnings decreased, although the level remained above previous years’ levels.

When examining the earnings figures, please keep in mind that information is uploaded to the Incomes Register with varying degrees of lag, and the figures may be slightly updated later when new data becomes available. In practice, data older than one month can be considered almost final.

The figure below compares industry-level earnings in May from 2019 to 2021. Earnings in health and social care, manufacturing, public administration, and trade appear to have increased the most in May 2021.

The next two figures show the developments of labor earnings in municipalities in 2019 – 2021. The first figure shows labor earnings in the largest twenty municipalities in June. The second figure shows the ten municipalities with the lowest and the highest changes in labor earnings for 2021 from 2019 levels.

Next, we examine the changes in earnings in June from 2019 to 2021 by age group. Labor earnings in June 2021 seem to be greater for each age group when compared to June 2019 and 2020, except for ages under 25. June 2021 labor earnings seem to be greater than June 2020 labor earnings for every age group.

The next figure illustrates the relative changes in earnings by profession, listing professions that experienced the largest reductions or increases in earnings in June 2021 compared to June 2019.

Labor market – furloughs and layoffs

The figure below shows the weekly new furlough and unemployment spells from 2019 to 2021. The amounts of new spells increased substantially in the beginning of the crisis, but new entries into unemployment or furloughs have in general declined afterwards. Amounts of new furlough spells, however, have continued to be above the corresponding levels of 2019 yet seem to have slowly declined closer to the level of 2019 during the year 2021.

Labor market – employment

Below, we present the weekly amounts of employed in 2019 – 2021. Here, a person is considered employed if they receive at least 1000 euros of wage income over a month. According to this definition, we find that the number of employed has been smaller in early 2021 than in previous years, although higher than it was at the lowest point of 2020 in April. In April and May of 2021, the number of employed seems to have risen above the level of 2020 and closer to the level of 2019. Employment data is slower in updating than earnings data, so recent data should be considered with caution.


Firms – revenue

The figure below shows quarterly changes in total revenue by region in 2020 from 2019. Especially, the figure displays substantial drops in total revenue in many regions at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in the second quarter.

The figures below display the development of monthly total revenue in selected regions: Uusimaa, Varsinais-Suomi, and Lappi.

Below, the figure shows quarterly total revenue changes 2019-2020 by industry. Again, total revenue dropped especially during the second quarter in many industries .

The figures below display monthly total revenue development in selected industries: manufacturing, trade, logistics, and hotels and restaurants.

Firms – bankruptcy applications

The figure below shows the development of cumulative amount of bankruptcy applications during years 2018-2021. From the figure we can see that this development has been very similar during years 2018 and 2019. In 2020, however, the amount of filed bankruptcy application was significantly lower after the beginning of summer. In January 2021, the development was slower that in January 2020, but seems to have increased later on. Recently, the development seems to have slowed down again compared to years 2018 and 2019.

Next figure shows the number of new bankruptcy applications on monthly basis during the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. This figure reinforces the observations from the previous figure.

Firms – entry

The figure below shows the monthly number of entrant firms in Finland 2019 – 2021. Legal entries are firms that start their business in a legal sense, for example, acquire a company ID. Real entries are firms that start their economic activities. Information on real entries is interpreted from various data sources by Statistics Finland. Note that the data may update afterwards when more accurate information is received.

Below, the figures display the monthly number of entrant firms for selected industries: manufacturing, trade, logistics, and hotels and restaurants.

Firms – exit

The figures below show the monthly number and cumulative sum of firms that left the market in Finland. Legal exits are firms that terminated their business permanently in a legal sense. Real exits are firms that stopped their economic activities, but did not necessarily cease their business in a legal sense. Information on real exits is interpreted from various sources by Statistics Finland. Note that the data may update afterwards when more information is received.

Below, the figures display the monthly number of exits for selected industries: manufacturing, trade, logistics, and hotels and restaurants.


Households – housing allowance

Below, we illustrate the number of applicants for Kela’s housing allowance from January to June in 2019 – 2021. In 2021, the monthly number of housing allowance applicants seem to have exceeded the monthly number of applicants in 2019 and 2020 in January, February and June.

Households – unemployment benefits

The figure below displays the number of applicants for Kela’s unemployment benefits from the beginning of the year in 2019 – 2021. The figure shows striking increases in applications in April and May 2020. In 2021, similar spikes in the number of applications are not observed.

Please note that these figures do not include the earnings-related unemployment allowance paid by unemployment funds. Additionally, the figures illustrate the numbers of new applications rather than all those collecting benefits of a given type.

In the figure below, we compare the number of applicants for Kela’s unemployment benefit by age and gender in the first half of 2019 and 2021. Compared to 2019, the number of applicants seems to be higher among women and men aged over 60 in 2021. In turn, the number of applicants is lower especially among men and women aged 50-60.

Finally, we examine the amounts of applications by household type. Compared to 2019, the number of applicants for Kela’s unemployment benefit was lower among persons living alone in early 2021.

Amounts of furloughed applicants have increased the most among single family households, but also substantially among persons living alone.

  • 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]
  • Figures and data: