Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Tourism continues to be a major engine of growth: 47% of new jobs in last 12 months in tourism

By Staff

  • At Almannagjá gorge, Þingvellir The tourism industry has played a key role in pulling Iceland out of the economic recession caused by the bursting of the giant bubble created by the pre-crash financial boom in Iceland. Photo/Pjetur

Tourism was a major engine of economic growth and job creation in the past 12 months. Figures from Statistics Iceland show that tourism generated 2,900 new jobs in 2016, 47% of the total. The other main source of new jobs was construction, with 1,500 jobs, 24% of the total. Many of these can also be traced to the growth in tourism, as much of new construction are hotels.

During the 12 month period from March 2016 to February 2017, the average total number of employees was 176,000, an increase of ca 6,000 (4.8%) compared to the period from March 2015 to February 2016. Most of the increase took place in tourism and construction, while fisheries experienced a contraction of 1,700 jobs. 

Statistics Iceland notes that the figures do not include information on the self-employed with calculated remuneration, a setup common in construction, agriculture and creative industries. The data might therefore underestimate the job creation in these industries. 

Employment, new jobs 2008-2017

Job creation 2008-2017 By 2011 Iceland was exiting the recession caused by the 2008 financial meltdown Photo/Statistics Iceland


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