Sweden’s jobless rate climbs by 14 percent

Unemployment in Sweden jumped up over 7 percent in January, according to new statistics released on Thursday.

According to the most recent Labour Market Survey by Statistics Sweden (SCB), Sweden’s jobless rate hit 7.3 percent in January, up from 6.4 percent in December, an increase of 14 percent.

Total employment, which does not include government job schemes, fell to 4.478 million people from 4.519 million.

The number of hours worked decreased by 7.2 percent year-on-year. In December, there was no statistically significant change.

A number of key Swedish companies, notably auto maker Volvo and mobile phone network giant Ericsson, have announced tens of thousands of job cuts in the face of a global economic crisis in a country heavily dependent on exports.

The Swedish government foresees a growth contraction of 0.8 percent in 2009, which would be Sweden’s worst performance in 30 years.

The central bank has warned of negative growth this year of 1.6 percent.

The jobless rate for January for men was 7.5 percent, slightly higher than the 7.0 percent of women unemployed during the month.

The largest increase in unemployment occurred among men between the ages of 25 and 64, with an additional 29,000 losing their jobs, bringing the total to 118,000, an increase of 33 percent compared to figures from January 2008.