Norway's unemployment jumps to 6.9%

OSLO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Norway’s overall rate of unemployment now stands at 6.9%, up from 6.7% one week ago as new measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic led to more furloughed workers, the Labour and Welfare Agency (NAV) said on Tuesday.

Unemployment started to rise in early November after falling continously since April.

“Every minute during the last week one additional person has registered as unemployed,” NAV chief Hans Christian Holte said in a statement.

The overall number, which includes people working reduced hours while seeking full employment, is down from a record 15.4% in early April, when a shutdown of parts of the economy resulted in mass layoffs.

In February, the last month of regular economic activity before the first round of lockdowns began, unemployment had stood at 3.7%.

The Norwegian government announced emergency shutdowns of many public and private institutions in mid-March, sending the economy into a tailspin, before starting a gradual lifting.

But last week Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced new measures to contain the virus as infections rose. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Victoria Klesty and Gwladys Fouche)