Norway unemployment seen at 2.5 pct until 2014

OSLO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Norway's registered unemploymentrate is expected to stay unchanged at 2.5 percent until the endof 2014, the public Labour and Welfare Administration said onWednesday.

The work force is expanding rapidly thanks to an influx offoreign workers drawn by available jobs in energy, construction,service industries and the public sector, helping the countryavoid labour shortages and keep inflation low.

Including those who say they look for work, without havingsigned up for unemployment benefits, the unemployment rate wasseen flat at 3.1 percent in each of the years from 2012 to 2014,down from 3.3 percent last year.

In comparison, the euro zone's unemployment rate stood at11.4 percent in August, data from Eurostat showed, while inneighbouring Sweden it was 8.4 percent according to thecountry's Public Employment Service.

Norway's economy expanded an annualised 5 percent in thesecond quarter, the fastest growth in Europe.

The country's oil and gas industry has increased overallemployment by a third in the last five years, lifted by a strongoil price that has drawn record investment, while many otherparts of the economy are also expanding.

In 2012, the overall number of people employed in Norway wasexpected to grow by 2.1 percent, and by another 1.4 and 1.5percent in the two following years, the labour agency predicted.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Camilla Knudsen)

((terje.solsvik@thomsonreuters.com)(+47 2293 6974)(ReutersMessaging: terje.solsvik.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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