Unemployment rates have dropped slightly between August and September, according to the lastest figures from the Directorate of Labor.
The national average in September was 7.2%, compared to 7.7% in August, and 10.4% in July. As before, unemployment is lowest in the West Fjords and West Iceland, at 1.8% in both regions, while unemployment is greatest – at 12.4% – in Suðurnes.
Unemployment is decreasing more than twice as fast for men as it is for women – with a drop of 3.6% for the former and 1.5% for the latter – while unemployment in general is slightly higher for men than for women, at 7.9% and 7.5% respectively.
The 16-24 age group has seen a sharp decline in unemployment, and in keeping with that, unemployment is expected to take another small dip before levelling off in September, as students working full time in the summer go back to school.
Immigrants have been experiencing about twice as high the unemployment rate as nationals. Immigrants on a temporary work permit are not entitled to unemployment benefits. As many foreigners – particularly those from outside the EU – have been legally obliged to stay on a temporary work permit for several years before qualifying for permanent residency or citizenship, this means that even those who have been living and working in Iceland for years may have to leave the country should they lose their jobs.