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Double counting boosted Swedish job figures

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18:03 CET+01:00
The Swedish Employment Service (AMS) has admitted that the available jobs in its database have been counted twice in its reports of live job numbers. The Riksbank and other forecasters have been misled, but the scale of the error is still unclear.

"At the moment we're not sure how far-reaching this could be," said the director general of AMS, Lars Sjöström.

"But there has probably been a certain degree of overestimation."

Late on Tuesday, SVT's Aktuellt programme revealed that internal documents at AMS showed that many available jobs were double-counted since the employers themselves can submit their advertisements to the AMS database.

Lars Sjöström maintained that he has not yet seen the documents.

"I can neither confirm or deny the contents of the material," said Sjöström, adding that AMS would as soon as possible provide more information about what had happened.

During the winter the AMS figures have shown a strong increase in the number of new jobs. At the same time, unemployment has remained at the same level, a fact which has been explained by new entrants to the job market.

How long the faulty counting has been going on is hard to say, claimed Sjöström, but if it has been consistent then the mistake is not so serious.

"If it's the same overestimate now as the same time last year, then it doesn't affect the trend," he said.

The trend is the most important measurement, according to Sjöström.

Job market growth is an important parameter when, for example, the Riksbank is setting interest rates. Increased pressure in the economy and more new jobs have prompted the Riksbank to raise its base rate twice this winter, despite the fact that inflation has held steady.

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TT/The Local

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