Unemployment insurance enrollment on the rise

The number of Swedes enrolled in unemployment insurance programmes (a-kassa) jumped by 3,000 in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to new statistics.

Figures compiled by the Swedish Unemployment Insurance Board (IAF) show that the last three months of the year marked the first time since 2006 to show an increase in the number of participants in the programmes.

The number of people enrolled in unemployment insurance programmes began dropping at the end of 2006, with enrollment continuing to slide through 2008.

According to IAF, the programmes lost around 500,000 members, bringing overall enrollment to 3,306,000.

The group added, however, that not all programmes had seen a reversal in the negative membership trend.

Nine programmes showed membership growth at the end of 2008, with the programme associated with Unionen, a white-collar trade union, posting the greatest influx of members.

But several other unemployment insurance programmes, including those catering to workers in the restaurant and hotel industry, musicians, the theatre business, and the fishing industry all reported a 3 percent drop in membership during the fourth quarter.