Economic slowdown in Swedish service sector

The Swedish economy looks gloomier than ever as the service sector's economic growth slows down from 3.1 percent in the first quarter to 2 percent for the second quarter.

According to a report from Almega, an organization that supports service companies in Sweden, the only silver lining is a healthy IT sector.

“All indications are for even weaker growth than two percent in the third quarter. Demand and production is slowing down for various sectors”, according to statement by Almega’s chief economist Lena Hagman.

This does not bode well for the Swedish economy.

“A significantly weaker growth in production for both service providers and industy this year means that the GDP growth will be much weaker than most had counted on”, writes Hagman.

So far, this has not affected jobs too much, but sales are down and productivity is down. In the long run, this may affect employment.

However, Almega’s report points out that the IT sector remains very healthy. IT consultants should still have plenty of work coming in. The demand for IT consultants rose in the year’s second quarter to almost the same level as it was in 2000, just before the IT bubble burst.

Almega has some 8,600 member companies employing 350,000 people.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.