Unemployment rises despite more vacancies

Sweden's unemployment figures rose in December compared to the same month in 2004, despite an increase in the number of job vacancies. At the end of December 249,000 Swedes, or 5.5 percent of the population, were jobless, according to the Swedish National Labour Administration (AMS).

The figures represent an increase of around 2 percent on December 2004. The number of people on government programmes increased by 2,000 people to 126,00 people, or 2.8 percent of Sweden’s total workforce.

December saw 2,800 people given redundancy notices, some 900 fewer than the previous December.

There were some chinks of light in the statistics, according to AMS. the number of job vacancies increased by 9,000 to 29,000. The number of new people signing on as unemployed was down 5,000 on December 2004 to 39,000.

But long-term unemployment continues to rise. The number of long-term unemployed – defined as people who have been out of work for at least six months, or in the case of under-25s, for at least 100 days – increased to 66,000. That is an increase of 11,000 compared with one year previously.

The number of people who have been unemployed for over two years continued to rise and was 40,000 in December, or 3,000 more than one year earlier.

“Despite an increase in the number of job vacancies, unemployment is not falling,” admitted AMS boss Bo Bylund in a statement.

“This is partly due to the fact that more people are going onto the job market and competition for jobs is therefore growing.”