Over the past decade, the number of employed people in Denmark increased and was expected to reach nearly three million as of 2020. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), however, employment levels dropped significantly from February 2020 onwards. While over 2.8 million people were employed in February 2020, the number reached the lowest point in May 2020, before increasing again slightly in June 2020. A natural consequence of a decreasing work force is a growing unemployment rate. In the second quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate stood at over five percent, which was considerably higher than usual. Looking back at the past ten years, the number of unemployed people declined significantly, counting around 104 thousand in 2019. In the beginning of July 2020, however, nearly 186 thousand people registered as unemployed due to dismissals or lay-offs in the wake of the crisis.
A work week of 37 hours is the most common thing when being employed in Denmark: a number which is considerably lower when compared to its neighboring countries. Although the average weekly working hours come close to 37 hours, there are some notable exceptions. Men generally work longer hours than women, and employees in the private sector also work more. Differences based on gender and sector also become clear considering salaries, and the gender pay gap is still a topic in Denmark. In 2019, men earned a higher salary than women – both in the public and private sector. This was even the case for private sector employees with an academic background, where men earned 4.1 percent more than women.