Regional employment experiments decreased the number of long-term unemployed and reduced the unemployment rate in the regions that participated in the experiments. However, the development may have been impacted by both employment in the open labour market and increased participation in employment services. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment should systematically monitor the results of municipal employment experiments during the ongoing government term and make high-quality impact assessments of them.
The audit was targeted at the public employment and business services (TE services) provided by the Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices), as well as the implementation of reforms related to the management of employment at TE Offices during the government term 2015–2019. The reforms examined in the audit included regional employment experiments and jobseekers’ periodic interviews.
The TE administration used almost EUR 600 million in 2015 for promoting employment and fighting unemployment. The use of appropriations decreased by about 18 per cent from 2015 to 2018. The aim of the audit was to assess how the TE administration had succeeded in providing TE services and implementing the reforms at which the audit was targeted.
Regional employment experiments decreased the number of long-term unemployed and reduced the unemployment rate in the regions that participated in the experiments. However, based on the analysis of statistics from the jobseeker register, it is not possible to conclude the extent to which the development has resulted from increased participation in employment services or from employment in the open labour market.
Increasing the number of periodic interviews resulted in increased contacts between TE Offices and customers and improved the efficiency of directing jobseekers to employment services. However, the increase in periodic interviews also added to the workload of the TE Office personnel. Based on the audit, the reform was positive overall.
Regardless of the decrease in appropriations, the TE administration was relatively well-placed to provide employment services. Overall, the acquisition of services reduced somewhat during the review period. The employment situation improved towards the end of the review period, which also reduced the need for TE services.
The background material of the audit includes the report ‘Työvoimapalvelujen vaikuttavuus taloustieteellisessä tutkimuskirjallisuudessa’ (‘The effectiveness of employment services in economic research literature’), which is based on a report ordered by the National Audit Office from the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) in 2018.