Record Number Of Foreign Workers In Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Record Number Of Foreign Workers In Iceland

Published August 24, 2017

Elías Þórsson
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Figures posted today by Statistics Iceland show that the unemployment rate for July was 1% and hasn’t been lower since figures started to be compiled regularly in 2003. An expert with the Directorate of Labour says that never before have there been more foreign workers in Iceland.

Today, 24,000 foreign citizens are employed in Iceland, compared to 20,500 last year and 18,000 in 2015.

“We experienced a lot of growth in 2007 and 2008, but I think it will be even more this year,” Karl Sigurðsson from the Directorate of Labour told RÚV. “Net immigration of foreigners could be around 5,000, with 3,500 entering the workforce.”

Build or serve

Currently around 15,000 people work in the construction industry with 40% of those being foreign labourers, despite this, labour shortages remain, with more workers also needed in the service industry.

“Demand for workers is high and domestic supply is unable to meet it. This could impact wages, the real estate market, the price of rent and so forth,” said Karl.

Between the ages of 16-74, only 2,100 were unemployed this July, which is 2,000 less than in 2016.

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