LO: Sweden should use UN jobless figures

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) said on Friday the nation’s unemployment is much higher than the government has been saying the Nordic country should calculate the figure according to international standards.

“We have to have figures that are both internationally measured and historically measurable,” said Dan Andersson, chef economist at the Confederation, an organization that is intimately linked to the Social Democrat-led government, according to Dagens Industri.

The Confederation wants to use the international measurement, which was set by the United Nations body International Labour Organization (ILO).

Andersson said Sweden should consider fulltime students who are seeking work as unemployed. He said he is irritated by the parties using different measurements regarding unemployment during elections.

Andersson said if his recommendation were followed, the official unemployment figure would jump to 7.4 percent from today’s publicized 4.8 percent.

Bob Pember, senior statistician with the ILO, said the latest Swedish unemployment figures they have is for 2004. ILO lists Sweden as having a 6.6 percent unemployment rate in 2004.

“We do include fulltime students who are looking for work, and we always encourage countries to provide statistics for international comparability,” Pember said. “However individual countries calculate their own rates is up to them.”