Alliance: employment service politicized

Sweden's employment service is politicized and deliberately manipulates employment figures to make them reflect well on the government, the opposition has said.

Minister of Labour Hans Karlsson called the attack on the government and AMS “shameless.”

Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson said Bosse Bylund, head of state labour market office AMS, “delivers figures almost weekly that support the government and repeat the mantra that unemployment is falling.”

She was backed up by the Liberal Party’s Lars Leijonborg and the Moderates’ Fredrik Reinfeldt, who said that he considered Bylund to be a “Social Democrat election worker.”

Centre Party economic spokesman Roger Tiefensee told The Local that AMS should use international standardized methods for counting unemployment, rather than the measure of open unemployment currently used.

“We think the real figures should show total unemployment. The economy is going well on the macro level, but we’re not getting people in work as we should be.”

“We should follow the ILO and Eurostat measure of unemployment, so for example students seeking jobs are counted as unemployed.”

But AMS, he said, did not use these figures because they would be damaging for the Social Democratic government.

“At its top level, AMS is a political organization. The boss is husband of cabinet minister Berit Andnor, and they picked him when the unemployment figures were bad.”

But Hans Karlsson, minister for working life, defended the way the government compiles unemployment figures:

“Sweden has used the same statistical method for its labour statistics for decades. It has remained the same regardless of whether the government has been Social Democratic or conservative,” he told The Local.

He also defended the appointment of Bo Bylund, saying “we appointed Mr Bylund on his own merits. I refrain from making any comment on his private life.”

He said the Alliance’s attack on AMS and the government was “shameless and unworthy of a serious political debate.”