18. Jan 2023
Employee number reached all-time high in the Christmas month

December 2022 saw a 0.9% year-on-year increase in employees. This growth is to a large extent represented by employees with non-Danish citizenship.

The Faroese labour market consisted of just over 28,300 employees in December. This is the highest-ever figure for a single month.

There were 250 more employees in December 2022 than in December 2021. The number continues to grow, although this growth has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. In December 2022, the labour force increased by 0.9% compared to December 2021. The increase from December 2018 to December 2019 was 2.5%.


The big drop in the graph above occurred in April 2020, shortly after Covid-19 restrictions were introduced.

Increase in both male and female employees

Employee numbers went up for both sexes in the past year. In December, there were about 14,600 male and 13,700 female employees, a year-on-year increase of 0.9% for men and 1.1% for women.


Trends in each main industrial sector

The graphs below show the employee figures and the monthly trends in the four main industrial sectors.

‘Governmental and other services’ has seen steady growth since 2014 when there were 8,700 employees. This figure has now reached 10,500.


‘Private services’ have recovered well from the pandemic. However, after steady growth in the past three years, this growth now appears to be slowing down.


The growth in employee numbers in ‘construction and other manufacturing’ stagnated in 2020 and the total employee number dropped slightly. This number now appears to be going up again.


Employee numbers in ‘fishery and other natural resources’ tend to fluctuate more than in the other industrial sectors; nevertheless, there has been a clear increase since the low point in 2011. The employee number in this sector has increased from 3,500 in 2011 to about 4,300 in December 2022.


The table below shows employee numbers (December 2021 and December 2022) for each branch within the four main industrial sectors.

‘Fishery and other natural resources’ saw the biggest increase in employee numbers in the past year, going up by 3.2%. This is followed by ‘construction and other manufacturing’, which increased by 2.4%. The service sectors saw more modest growth, with ‘governmental and other services’ increasing by 1.7% and ‘private services’ increasing by 0.6%


More workers from overseas

An increasing share of the labour force has non-Danish citizenship. Of the 250 employees that have been added to the labour market since December 2021, about 200 (80%) had non-Danish citizenship.

In December, 7.0% of the total labour force were non-Danish, up from 6.3% in December 2021. Ten years ago, 2.5% of employees had non-Danish citizenship.

Non-Danish employees predominantly work in fish processing, hotels and restaurants, aquaculture and household services.


Workers from outside Europe represent the highest relative growth in the employee figures in the past year. The number of non-European employees now represents 3.6% of the total labour force compared to 2.1% in December 2021.


About employees

An employee is anyone aged between 16 and 74 who earns a wage that is subject to tax at source (PAYE) and resides in the Faroe Islands at the time of wage payment. A person is regarded as an employee if he or she receives a wage payment which is no lower than a day wage for an unskilled worker, regardless of whether the wage is paid by a Faroese or an overseas company.

About the trend

The trend describes the employee trend by adjusting for seasonal effects and error components in the figures.

About the main industrial sectors

Grouped under the ‘fishery and other natural resources’ sector are the following branches: agriculture, fishing, aquaculture, extraction of raw materials, fish processing and activities not elsewhere indicated.

The ‘construction and other manufacturing’ sector includes: shipyards/machine shops, other manufacturing, construction and energy.

The ‘private services’ sector includes: trade and repair, hotels and restaurants, sea transport, other transport, communications, finance and insurance, business services. household services and organisations, culture, etc.

‘Governmental and other services’ includes: public administration and services (central administration, municipalities, education, health and social work), government institutions and the Ministries of Education and Health.

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