According to Vísir, unemployment rates have not improved much since last year as over 2500 people have been unemployed for a year or longer. Although the ratio declined from 9 percent in April to about 7.7 percent in June, Gissur Pétursson, the CEO of Labour, believes that the decrease in the last few months is only seasonal. He says that although the expected rate is lower, the unemployment rate is worse than in 2009 which reached 8 percent last year. Gissur hopes that the unemployment rate will not exceed 8.5 percent in 2010.
80 percent of the unemployed have either no qualifications or have completed their Stúdentspróf, an examination taken between compulsory school and university. Only 10 percent have university qualifications. 70 percent of young people who are unemployed have only completed compulsory education. 25.3 billion ISK were spent on unemployment benefits in 2009, compared to the 3 billion spent in 2007.
Kristín Óladóttir, the Employment Officer at the Hagvangur Office, says that older people are more willing to accept any wages and hours offered to them than younger people. Kristín comments that if people do not accept a job offer than they can no longer receive unemployment benefits.
Gissur argues that people can refuse job offers for four weeks, but after that they can lose their unemployment benefits for refusing offers. He states, “Of course we don’t want to force people to doing something they don’t want – but no one should get away with receiving unnecessary unemployment benefits.”