Sweden’s October layoffs hit historic highs

October 2008 was the worst month for layoffs in Sweden in more than 15 years, according to new statistics.

Figures released on Monday by the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) show that 19,521 people were told they’d be made redundant in October, the highest figure since November 1992 when 22,217 workers were given notice.

At the end of last week, 155,575 people were registered with the agency as unemployed, an increase of 320 people compared to the previous week and 3,378 more than the corresponding week last year.

The number of people in supported employment increased to 79,191, up by 247 from the week before and a reduction of 14,040 compared to the same week last year.

During the week, employers registered 8,234 new positions with the agency, down by 223 jobs from the week before and 6,896 fewer than the corresponding week in 2007.

The statistics show that the current pace of layoffs is in line with the job losses experienced in Sweden in the aftermath of the country’s banking crisis in the early 1990s.

In 1992, around 15,000 to 20,000 layoffs were announced every month, for a total of about 185,000 redundancies for the year.

Then, much like now, most of the job losses have been concentrated in the vehicle industry in western Sweden.