Capital gains

There was welcome news for Stockholm's jobseekers this week as the region's Chamber of Commerce forecast an increase in jobs to match the continued growth in the economy.

But whether or not you’ll benefit very much depends upon what sector you work in. The service and technology sectors are expected to expand the most, with every third IT company saying that they expect to recruit before the end of the year.

“We know from previous experience that companies’ answers about planned recruitment usually reflect what they actually do,” said Peter Egardt, the head of Stockholm’s Chamber of Commerce.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, the capital city started to overtake the country’s average growth rate at the beginning of the year – for the first time since the second quarter of 2001.

But while Dagens Nyheter reported that the country’s industrial sector has increased output to 91.1% of capacity – up 1.8% on the same period last year – Stockholm’s manufacturing firms have lost a little steam.

“The sector, which accounts for 18% of the region’s economy, has lost pace with export orders not increasing at the same rate as in the second quarter,” wrote SvD, which pointed out that the consequence would be employment cutbacks.

The biggest beneficiaries of a recent economic upturn appear to be companies listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, which have posted record profits in the third quarter of the year. Top of the pile was Ericsson, which banked a tidy 7 billion crowns – not bad compared to a paltry 1.1 billion in the third quarter of last year.

Analyst Peter Malmqvist told Göteborgs-Posten that overall profits were up 70% compared to the same time last year. Even taking out Ericsson’s mammoth gains, profits have improved by 28%.

“The profits are surprisingly good,” said Malmqvist. “I can tell you that a year ago there wasn’t anyone who thought we would hit these levels.”

GP noted that profits haven’t improved so quickly since 2000. But thanks largely to the uncertainty surrounding the Saab plant in Trollhättan, the outlook for Sweden’s west coast economy isn’t so rosy.

A new report from bank Nordea anticipates an average output growth of 3.7% for Sweden this year and 3.2% next year. Leading the way is the Mälardalen region, including Stockholm, with 4.2% growth in 2004.

But although the Gothenburg area hits the average growth rate this year, the bank expects that to shrink to 2.7% next year.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Göteborgs Posten