Unemployment rose by less than one half of one percent this past month, according to the latest figures from the Directorate of Labor.
Unemployment now stands at 8%, or about 13,500 Icelanders. Of these, 7,400 have been unemployed for six months or longer. 8.5% of men and 7.3% of women are unemployed. The directorate expects unemployment to rise further, by 8.1% to 8.6%, in December.
Currently, unemployment benefits given to people between the ages of 18 and 24 could be cut, if a bill submitted by the Ministry of Social Affairs passes as is. The bill wants to redirect a portion of the money given to unemployment payments for this group and put it into support for classes and job training. However, sources close to RÚV report that there is talk that this would apply to those between the ages of 18 and 24 who still live with their parents, and have no children of their own. This group could see their unemployment benefits cut in half.
At the same time, Iceland still has the lowest unemployment rates of any other OECD country – in the Euro area, the unemployment rate was 9.7% in September 2009, 0.1 percentage point higher than the previous month and 2.0 percentage points higher than in September 2008. For the United States, the unemployment rate for October 2009 was 10.2%.