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Thousands lose their jobs at Christmas

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Thousands lose their jobs at Christmas
12:50 CET+01:00
Over 8,500 Swedes were added to the ranks of the unemployed during the Christmas week, new figures from the public employment agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) show.

Declining demand and tougher credit conditions have forced companies to tighten their belts, which has cast a dark shadow over the labour market.

At the end of last week 187,987 people were registered unemployed in Sweden. This represents an increase of 8,682 on the week before and 22,676 more than the corresponding week of last year. And the situation shows no sign of improving.

"Unfortunately I believe that the labour market will continue to worsen. The labour market is lagging behind and will unfortunately continue to decline throughout 2009," said Robert Bergqvist, the head economist at Swedish bank SEB to news agency TT.

During last week 2,882 new vacancies were registered with Sweden's employment agencies. This is a decline of 4,274 in comparison with the previous week and 322 fewer than the corresponding period of 2007.

At the same time 83,214 people were participating in employment support programmes, an increase of 52 people in comparison with the week before and an increase of 23,520 on the corresponding period of 2007.

Up to Christmas 14,773 people had been served notice in the month of December, according to the agency. This figure is in comparison to the 2,397 people who were given notice in the whole of December last year.

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