Friday, 27 September 2013

Unemployment Rate down to 4.4% in Iceland

The employment rate was 79.3% and the unemployment rate was 4.4%. The unemployment rate has decreased by 1.3 percentage points from August 2012 when it was 5.7%.

Unemployment 4.4% in August

The number of persons in the labour force in August 2013 was 188,300 which corresponds to an activity rate of 82.9%. The number of employed persons was 180,000 and unemployed persons were 8,300. The employment rate was 79.3% and the unemployment rate was 4.4%. The unemployment rate has decreased by 1.3 percentage points from August 2012 when it was 5.7%.  In August 2013 the male unemployment rate was 4.6% compared to 4.9% in August 2012 and the female unemployment rate was 4.2% compared to 6.7% in August 2012.

 Labour force August 2013

Seasonally adjusted unemployment 4.9%

The seasonally adjusted data shows that in August 2013 the number of people in the labour force was 186,900 or 82.5% activity rate compared to 183,400 and 80.7% in July. The number of unemployed persons amounted to 9.200 or 4.9% which is the same as in July.

The number of seasonally adjusted employed persons in August was 177,700 or 78.4% compared to 174,200 and 76.7% in July.  The seasonally adjusted trend data shows little or no change for the last six months both in numbers and percentage. The twelve month trend for activity has increased 1.6%, employment has increased by 2.4% and unemployment has decreased by 1.6%.


August 2013 is divided in to four weeks, from the 29th of July to 1st of September 2013. The total sample size was 1,505 persons, 16–74 years randomly chosen from the Population Register. When those who had passed away or those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 1,465 persons. In total the number of usable answers was 1,186 which correspond to 80.4% response rate. All figures have been weighted by sex and age groups. The confidence limit of the results on activity rate is ±2 points, employment rate is ±2.2% and unemployment rate is ±1.3%. Figures may not add up because of rounding.

Source: Statistics Iceland
Iceland24, September 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

New 10000 ISK Icelandic banknote out today!

The Central Bank of Iceland introduced a new ten thousand krónur banknote today. The face of natural scientist and poet Jónas Hallgrímsson appears on the bill, as well as the Eurasian golden plover. Hallgrímsson was interested in the plover and mentioned her in some of his poems.

Photo by Kristinn Ingvarsson
The new banknote will go into circulation in late October this year. It has 4 zeros, but the banknote with the most zeros in history is the Zimbabwe 100 Trillion Dollars bill, issued in 2009, with 14 zeros.

The new 10.000 ISK banknote was designed by Kristín Þorkelsdóttir, who also designed Iceland’s other denominations. The blue note measures 172 x 70 mm, and is protected by the following security features: a watermark of Jon Sigurdsson with electrotype 10.000 and Cornerstones, 18-mm wide Optiks security thread, UV printing, intaglio printing, microprinting, and raised horizontal bars to assist the sight-impaired.

In 1981, the Icelandic króna was revalued, due to hyperinflation, with 100 old krónur being worth 1 new króna. Had that not been done, we would now be looking at a 1.000.000 ISK banknote.

This makes the first time since 1986 - when the 5,000 ISK bill was first pressed - that a new Icelandic bill was put into circulation. Whether or not most people will ever hold a 10,000 ISK bill themselves remains to be seen.

Iceland24, September 2013

Sunday, 22 September 2013

New CD from Emiliana Torrini

'Tookah' is Torrini's fourth album, her first since the acclaimed 'Me And Armini' in 2008.

The album sees Emiliana back in the studio with her long term producer / collaborator Dan Carey. This pedigree pairing of Emiliana’s songwriting and Carey’s sonic alchemy has already combined to world beating effect when they co-wrote/produced Kylie Mynogue’s hit ‘Slow’.

‘Tookah’ is an ambitious pop record and is in part inspired by Emiliana having become a mother for the first time. The work is described as an 'aspirational synth pop album' and was recorded with a new band, with additional writing contributions coming from band members Simon Bryt & Ian Kellett.

So what does the title 'Tookah' mean? Emiliana, who created the word, tells us: 'Tookah is when you feel yourself, the one you can always turn to. It is kind of the inner god I guess you feel when you have a feeling of everything being possible, when you feel happy, thankful and when you live from love. I call it Tookah."

There is also a nod to her native Iceland here, notably with the track ‘Home’, conceived as an ode to her son. Inspirations for this album also include the dancing sequence in the 1987 Wim Wenders film ‘Wings Of Desire’, as were Eric Satie's 'old piano works', an old programme Emiliana remembers called ‘Danish Lessons’ plus rather unexpectedly, ‘Snowflakes Are Dancing’ by Tomita (1974) the electronic classical record of Debussy interpretations.

And here is the lead single, 'Speed Of Dark'...

Source: News of Iceland
Iceland24, September 2013

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Share your Iceland Secret!

Do you have a special place in Iceland you want to tell everyone about? Let's collect secrets...

Iceland landscape

In a new marketing campaign video by Promote Iceland ‘Share Your Iceland Secret’ locals and Iceland enthusiasts are encouraged to tell others about their favorite spots in Iceland in an effort to boost winter tourism.

The project was presented at a press conference on Wednesday. Chair of the Icelandic Tourist Industry Association Árni Gunnarsson stressed the importance of spreading foreign visits over different seasons to create employment opportunities and revenue for the nation, reports.

Icelandic turf houses

Iceland has experienced a vast increase in tourism in recent years. In the 2012-2013 winter season, 71 percent more tourists came to the country than in the 2009-2010 winter season. It is likely that a new record in foreign visits will be set this year.

Source: Inspired by Iceland + Icelandreview
Iceland24, September 2013

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sigur Rós to appear in 'Game of Thrones' season 4

The upcoming season of Game of Thrones has taken a turn for the ethereal. Iceland24 is reporting today that Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Rós will appear in the fourth season of HBO's hit fantasy series, which is scheduled to air in spring 2014. According to HBO, band members Jón Þór "Jónsi" Birgisson, Georg Hólm, and Orri Páll Dýrason are currently shooting on location in Croatia, though it remains unclear what role (or music) they'll play in the upcoming season.

sigur Ros Iceland

The decision isn't a huge surprise, considering that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are fans of the band's music — which they listened to extensively while shooting in Iceland — and the show's history of casting musical acts.

HBO's Games of Thrones actors

Members of Snow Patrol and Coldplay have made guest appearances in earlier seasons, and HBO tapped indie band The Hold Steady to arrange a Westeros tavern song that played over the closing credits of an episode last season.

Games of Thrones scene Iceland

It’s been a big television year for Sigur Rós. The band was also featured on “The Simpsons” back in May in an episode titled “The Saga of Carl.”

Icelandic band Sigur ros in The Simpsons

Icelandic weightlifter Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who placed third in the World’s Strongest Man competition last month, will play Gregor Clegane, or ‘The Mountain,’ in the fourth series of Game of Thrones.

Games of Thrones season filmed in Iceland

"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO in Spring 2014.

Peter, Iceland24
September 2013

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Iceland's Prime Minister - The Stream Full Interview

Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was on Al Jazeera's show The Stream yesterday. Watch the full interview below.

They talk about the country's economic rebound and various other subjects. Check it out:

On 17 May 2013 Icelandic media reported that Sigmundur Davíð, as chairman of the Progressive Party, would become Iceland’s next prime minister while the leader of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, would take up the position of Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. 

He is the youngest prime minister in the history of the Icelandic Republic and the world's youngest democratically elected head of government (born 12 March 1975).

Iceland was one of the hardest-hit countries in the 2008 financial crisis. The government's response was heavily criticised, yet it ultimately pulled the country out of a recession. Iceland's story of recovery is often portrayed as a strategy that bailed out the people, contrary to other Western nations that chose to assist their financial institutions.

But admiration for the government's economic policies is not shared by all Icelanders. After dealing with years of rising debt and higher costs of living from inflation, citizens voted out their centre-left government in April, and replaced it with the centre-right parties largely blamed for creating the country's original economic disaster.   

The new government has promised to improve living standards by reducing taxes and homeowner's debt.

Source: Al Jazeera
Iceland24, September 2013