Report: Arctic 5 cities and COVID-19 pandemic - Labour markets as the pandemic abates
Summary of the report
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the economy and especially labour markets over the last two years. In the beginning of the pandemic several people lost their job or were laid off. Remote working increased significantly in all workplaces where it was possible. In the autumn of 2021, people began to return to their offices in most of the Arctic 5 cities. That trend seems to have continued this year.
Our report shows people in Luleå and Umeå have returned to workplaces most eagerly and in Oulu the least. Stricter regulations and recommendations in Finland compared to the neighbouring countries during the whole pandemic explain this at least partly. The industrial structure which varies from city to city is another possible factor behind this development. In Oulu, for instance, where ICT and other knowledge intensive sectors employ a significant amount of people, work tasks can be performed more easily remotely.
The economies of the Arctic 5 cities seem to have recovered well from the pandemic. Unemployment has decreased in all cities and is already at a lower level than it has been for the last 15 years. Since summer 2020, the number of new open vacancies has increased rapidly in all cities. As a result, labour shortage is a serious and growing problem in every Arctic 5 city, and the cities are faced with a challenge of finding and attracting skilled workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been first and foremost a health crisis, but it has had a severe negative, asymmetric impact not only on individuals, but also on communities and regions. Arctic regions are no exception. This latest report broadens the analysis performed in our earlier reports.