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ECONOMY

Wallenberg attacked for “jobless growth” remarks

SEB Chairman Jacob Wallenberg, heir apparent to the Wallenberg corporate dynasty, has drawn sharp reactions from Metal Workers Union leader Göran Johnsson and Industry and Trade Minister Thomas Östros for his remarks on "jobless growth" in Sweden.

“I find his statement pretty passive. It is not particularly good leadership to make such a remark. Personally, I had hoped that he would have a vision for what the companies in his sphere have for role and significance to jobs and growth,” said Göran Johansson.

Östros shared Johansson’s criticism of Wallenberg’s view on the future of Swedish industry.

Östros said jobs are created in a period of economic upswing although it could take time. He also said that moving jobs and production abroad wouldn’t cripple jobs creation.

In Tuesday’s DI issue, Jacob Wallenberg said that he doesn’t see jobs arising in Sweden in the coming year and that the Swedish industry had shifted to increased productivity without need for new recruits – or the so-called “jobless growth”.

Vattenfall goes green

Energy company Vattenfall is to unveil today plans to invest in wind power in Sweden after the company was harshly criticised for its coal investments in Germany.

While Vattenfall describes itself as the biggest wind power producer in the country, this source of energy is marginally used. The company has 40 wind power plants that generate about 0.05 terawatts per hour TWh (billions of kilowatts per hour) annually.

Sustained growth to create 75,000 jobs

The crown is seen strengthening against both the dollar and the euro and employment is expected to grow with 75,000 new jobs next year, according to the latest forecasts from SEB’s economic analysts. SEB also sees GDP growth at 3.5 per cent this year and at 2.9 per cent in the next two years.

Lear Corp to exit Sweden

Subcontractor giant Lear Corporation is the next in a string of companies planning to move business from Sweden, reported DI. “Sweden is not competitive,” says Jörgen Moschini, Lear President in Sweden. The company, based in Tanum and has 600 employees, is set to move operations to Poland.

Clothing sales down in October

Clothing sales in Sweden fell 3.8 per cent in October year on year due to the rainy weather and falling prices, according to the shoe and textile retailers’ index. The October decline was the first monthly drop in a period of two years.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri

Supplied by BECK TRANSLATIONS.

With an experienced team of in-house translators, Beck specialises in translating from Swedish into English in such areas as finance and economics, marketing and advertising, biotechnology, the environment, quality, and personnel & administration.

ECONOMY

‘Tougher times’: Sweden’s economy to slow next year

Consumers in Sweden are set to crimp spending over the rest of the year, pushing the country into an economic slowdown, Sweden's official economic forecaster has warned in its latest prognosis.

'Tougher times': Sweden's economy to slow next year

A combination of record high energy prices over the winter, rising interest rates, and inflation at around 10 percent, is set to hit household spending power over the autumn and winter, leading to lower sales for businesses and dragging economic growth down to just 0.5 percent next year. This is down from the 1.2 percent the institute had forecast for 2023 in its spring forecast. 

“I don’t want to be alarmist,” Ylva Hedén Westerdahl, forecasting head at the Swedish National Institute of Economic Research, said at a press conference announcing the new forecast. “We don’t expect the sort of economic slowdown that we saw during the financial crisis or the pandemic, where unemployment rose much more. But having said that, people who don’t have a job will find it tougher to enter the labour market.” 

She said that a shortage of gas in Europe over the winter, will push electricity prices in Sweden to twice the levels seen last winter, while the core interest rate set by Sweden’s Riksbank is set to rise to two percent. 

As a result, Sweden’s unemployment rate will rise slightly to 7.8 percent next year, from 7.7 percent in 2022, which is 0.3 percentage points higher than the institute had previously forecast. 

On the plus side, Westerdahl said that she expected the Riksbank’s increases in interest rates this year and next year would succeed in getting inflation rates in Sweden under control. 

“We expect a steep decline in inflation which is going to return to below two percent by the end of 2023,” she said. “That depends on whether electricity prices fall after the winter, but even other prices are not going to rise as quickly.” 

After the press conference, Sweden’s finance minister, Mikael Damberg, said he broadly agreed with the prognosis. 

“I’ve said previously that we are on the way into tougher times, and that is what the institute confirms,” he told Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT. “There’s somewhat higher growth this year, at the same time as fairly high inflation which will hit many households and make it tougher to live.”

Damberg called on Sweden’s political parties to avoid making high-spending promises in the election campaign, warning that these risked driving up inflation. 

“What’s important in this situation is that we don’t get irresponsible when it comes to economic policy,” he said. “Because when parties make promises left, right and centre, it risks driving up inflation and interest rates even more, so Swedish households have an even tougher time. Right now, it’s important to prioritise.” 

 The call 

Sverige är på väg mot lågkonjunktur enligt Konjunkturinstitutets (KI) senaste prognos. Enligt finansminster Mikael Damberg (S) är det därför viktigt att Sverige sköter sin ekonomi ansvarsfullt och vågar prioritera.

– Jag tror att alla partier behöver vara lite återhållsamma och inte lova för mycket, säger han.

Mikael Damberg tycker att KI tecknar en realistisk bild av Sveriges ekonomiska verklighet.

– Jag har sagt tidigare att vi går mot tuffare tider och det är väl det som KI bekräftar. Något högre tillväxt i år men sämre tillväxtförutsättningar nästa år samt fortsatt ganska hög inflation som slår mot många hushåll och gör det tuffare att leva, säger han.

Och vad vill regeringen göra åt det?

– Det är viktigt att vi i det här läget inte är ansvarslösa i den ekonomiska politiken. För när partier lovar vitt och brett till allt riskerar vi att driva upp inflationen, öka räntan ytterligare och svenska hushåll får det svårare. Nu måste man våga prioritera.

Se intervjun med Damberg om konjunkturläget klippet ovan.

“Electricity prices are going to be twice as high as last winter,” said 

Elpriserna kommer att bli dubbelt så höga som förra vintern, säger Ylva Hedén Westerdahl, chef för Konjunkturinstitutets prognosavdelning, på en pressträff.
Den lågkonjunktur som KI ser framför sig kallar hon trots det för en mjuklandning. Den handlar främst om att människor kommer att ha mindre pengar att konsumera.

“Brist på gas i Europa gör att energipriserna ser ut att bli rekordhöga under vintern”, skriver KI, och ser att inflationen kommer att närma sig 10 procent.

Deras prognos för styrräntan är att den ligger på 2 procent vid årsslutet, vilket gör att inflationen faller tillbaka snabbt under nästa år och Riksbanken låter då räntan ligga still.

KI tillägger att de offentliga finanserna är fortsatt starka och de bedömer att det finns ett budgetutrymme på runt 120 miljarder kronor för de kommande fyra åren.

Vad gäller BNP spår KI en blygsam tillväxt på 0,5 procent nästa år – en nedskrivning från tidigare 1,2 procent.

Prognosen för arbetslösheten under 2023 är 7,8 procent, 0,3 procentenheter högre än tidigare prognos.

Fredrik Fahlman/TT
Johanna Ekström/TT

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