The number of Icelanders now registered as unemployed has exceeded 18,000 people, according to the Directorate of Labour. Over 12,000 of them live in the capital area alone. In total, 18,102 Icelanders are registered as unemployed – 11,463 men and 6,549 women.
The Directorate of Labour estimates that about 1,000 of these people are not actively seeking unemployment due to a variety of reasons. In addition, 3,000 Icelanders are underemployed, working part-time jobs. This number continues to grow, however, economic projections believe unemployment should level off some time next month.
About twice as many foreigners as Icelanders are unemployed, it is estimated, but exact figures are hard to come by – foreigners on a temporary work permit are not eligible for unemployment, and so do not register their unemployment with the Directorate of Labour. It should also be taken into consideration that not everyone with a temporary work permit intends to be in Iceland temporarily, as this type of permit is the stepping stone towards permanent residence and citizenship. Mayn foreigners continue working for the same employer, year after year, having the temporary permit renewed every year. Those who have been here several years and intend to stay, but find themselves unemployed, find themselves in the difficult situation of possibly having to leave the country, as they have no other means of support available in Iceland.