Norway unemployment seen at 2.5 pct until 2014

OSLO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Norway's registered unemployment rate is expected to stay unchanged at 2.5 percent until the end of 2014, the public Labour and Welfare Administration said on Wednesday.

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

Including those who say they look for work, without having signed up for unemployment benefits, the unemployment rate was seen 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 at 11.4 percent in August, data from Eurostat showed, while in neighbouring Sweden it was 8.4 percent according to the country's Public Employment Service.

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

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

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

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Camilla Knudsen)

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