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EMPLOYMENT

Swedish unemployment rises to 8.3 percent in March

Sweden's unemployment rate climbed to 8.3 percent in March, the fifth consecutive monthly rise and up from 8.0 percent in February, Statistics Sweden (SCB) said on Thursday.

A total of 404,000 Swedes were out of work in March, 99,000 of whom had been unemployed for more than a year, Statistics Sweden said in a press release.

The largest increase was among men aged 15-24 where unemployment rose by 4.8 percentage points to 24.7 percent, Statistics Sweden said.

In March, 4.45 million Swedes held down a job, a drop of 70,000 from the same period last year.

“With regard to the area of industry, the number of employed persons decreased in the manufacturing and construction industry, where 53,000 and 23,000 fewer persons were employed respectively,” the statement said.

Sweden’s economy officially entered a recession in the third quarter of 2008 and the country’s central bank expects it to contract by 4.5 percent this year.

The ministry of finance forecasts unemployment to peak at the start of 2011 at 11.7 percent, before falling again when the economy is expected to recover.

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EUROPEAN UNION

Sweden heads for economic slowdown EU warns

The European Union has warned that Sweden's economy is facing a marked slowdown, with unemployment set to rise above seven percent as companies cut back on investment.

Sweden heads for economic slowdown EU warns
Jobseekers entering an office of the Swedish Public Employment Service back in 2016, when the economy was booming. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
The August 2019 economic forecast from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs sees the rate of growth of Sweden's real GDP dropping to one percent next year.
 
This is slower than what is expected for all but four of the other 28 European Union members, and well below the brisk  four percent rate the country enjoyed back in 2015. 
 
“Sweden’s economy is clearly slowing down. Domestic demand and investment in particular are weak,” the report read, blaming the insipid domestic demand on a decline in investment in the housing market following years of strong growth. 
 
The slowing economy had also pushed Swedish manufacturers to hold back on investments in equipment, exacerbating the decline. 
 
The authors pointed out that planned government spending would do little to pick up the slack. 
 
“In spite of sizeable spending needs for schools, health care and welfare services linked to demographic developments, general government consumption is set to moderate in 2019 and 2020,” the report read. 
 
“Costs linked to migration should decrease, whereas new defence and health care expenses, priorities of the 2019 budget, are partially compensated by cutbacks on, among other items, labour market and environmental measures.” 
 
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While the report predicted that growth would start to pick up again in 2021, it warned that this recovery could be knocked off course by bad news internationally. 
 
“As the Swedish business cycle is closely aligned to that of its main trading partners, a deterioration of the external environment would weigh on the export sector,” it read. 
 
Real GDP in Germany and Belgium was also predicted to grow by just 1 percent in 2020, while Italy was expected to see a still more anaemic 0.04 percent growth rate. Every other EU country was predicted to grow faster, with Romania seeing the fastest growth at 3.6 percent. 
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