Social Democrats plan new job schemes

The Social Democrats have responded to opposition plans to tackle unemployment by unveiling their own measures to deal with the problem.

Finance minister Pär Nuder and labour minister Hans Karlsson said that government employment service AMS would create 3,000 places on job seeker courses. They also said AMS would be asked to carry out an analysis of the competences of unemployed people.

Pointing to figures from Statistics Sweden that showed registered unemployment down to 6 percent, Nuder said that unemployment would fall to four percent in the autumn, and that the new measures were designed to deal with an improved situation.

“These measures are an adjustment of labour policy to respond to the good times we’re now experiencing,” he said, adding that the problem of unemployment would soon be replaced by “problems with lack of labour”.

But the opposition parties said the Social Democrats were providing welfare money rather than a programme to create real jobs.

The additional measures include increasing the number of young people who qualify for government-subsidized jobs. The government pays 350 kronor a day to employers who take on a young person who has been jobless for more than six months.

Under the Social Democrats’ proposed arrangements, young people who have been out of work for three months would qualify. This would mean an extra 5,000 subsidized jobs for young people.

The party also said that the number of disabled people whose employers qualify for subsidies would be increased.

The opposition parties slammed the Social Democrats’ plans.

Liberal leader Lars Leijonborg said that the Social Democrats were “panicking” after their election manifesto was criticized for not containing measures to tackle unemployment.

“The government is using the potential for reform to create more AMS places and to increase benefits for the unemployed. We want to use it to make more real jobs possible and to make it more profitable to work,” he said.

He also dismissed the new unemployment figures, saying that the real unemployment level was 17 percent, and said that the fall in registered unemployment was due largely to temporary summer jobs. He also pointed out that while the number of registered unemployed had fallen by 39,000 over the past year, the number of people in government job schemes had risen by 21,000.