Swedish firms planning large layoffs in 2009

After shedding tens of thousands of jobs in recent months, Sweden should prepare for a new wave of layoffs in 2009, a survey of some of the country's top business leaders showed on Saturday.

In a telephone survey conducted by the Regi polling agency last month of the chief executives of 100 companies listed on the Stockholm stock exchange, 39 percent said their staffing needs would decline in 2009, the Dagens Industri business daily reported.

Another 38 percent of those questioned meanwhile said they were not planning to hire any new staff this year.

On average, staffing needs in the 100 companies are expected to decline by 12 percent in 2009, Dagens Industri said, adding that most of the cuts were planned in the heavy industry sector.

Sweden’s unemployment rate stood at 6.2 percent in November, according to the national statistics agency, but as the global economic downturn tightens its grip, the government expects the jobless rate to swell to 7.7 percent this year and to 8.5 percent in 2010.

Jobs in Sweden