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Finnish unemployment drops

HELSINKI, Sep 22 – Finland\’s unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent in August from 7.7 percent in July, the national statistics agency said on Tuesday.

Adjusted for seasonal variations, the August jobless rate dropped to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent in July, it said.

A year earlier, the jobless rate for August was 5.6 percent, Statistics Finland said in a statement, noting the number of people out of work last month increased by 52,000 on a 12-month basis to 203,000.

The recent global economic turmoil has forced many Finnish companies to lay off employees owing to weakening demand for their products.

Finland\’s ministry of employment and economy estimates around 75,000 employees were temporarily laid off in August, some 1,000 more than in July.

Statistics Finland\’s data showed that almost 2.5 million Finns held down a job last month.

Among people aged 15 to 24, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 22.4 percent in August from 21.8 percent in July, the agency said.

The government has forecast that the economy will shrink 6.0 percent in 2009 and show marginal growth in 2010, with unemployment predicted to rise to nine percent this year and 10.5 percent next year.

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