But compared to the third quarter there was a loss of 104,000 non-farm jobs, with the services sector losing 112,700 jobs and industry gaining 8,600.
The data is based on a sample survey, does not include Sri Lanka's northern province which emerged from a war last year.
Total employed in absolute terms fell 120,100 to 7.59 million in the fourth quarter from 77.1 million a year earlier. Compared to the third quarter the total employed fell 48,800 to from 7.64 million.
The unemployment rate in the fourth quarter was estimated at 5.
7 percent (5.9 percent in the third quarter) or 458,000 persons.
The statistics office also said that economic growth picked up pace to 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 4.
2 percent in the third quarter ending the ye