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UNEMPLOYMENT

Unemployment hits 9.1 percent: report

454,000 Swedes were registered as unemployed during the second quarter of 2009, new figures from Statistics Sweden (SCB) show.

The resulting unemployment figure was 9.1 percent, up 2.3 percentage points on the corresponding quarter of last year.

The new report however indicates that the number of employed persons who were on sick leave for at least one calendar week dropped by 17.6 percent to 93,000 people.

The figures indicate that 4,525,000 people were in employment during the quarter, a decline of 99,000 in comparison with the same period last year.

The number of permanently employed persons decreased during the second quarter of 2009 by 38,000. This is the first time since the fourth quarter of 2004 that the number of permanent employees has declined in comparison to the same quarter.

Men dominated the statistics of the newly unemployed.

The number of temporary employees also continued to fall – down 54,000 on the second quarter of 2008, continuing the downturn which began at start of 2008.

The quarterly reports from SCB’s Labour Force Survey now feature a new theme section and this quarter compared unemployment statistics for young people aged 15-24 in Europe.

Unemployment among young people is a common problem across the continent and Sweden, at 29 percent, largely follows the same pattern as the other EU countries.

However Sweden does distinguish itself in that unemployment among young Swedish people in relation to unemployment among those aged 25-74 was the highest in the EU in 2008.

The report cites several possible explanations – differences in the way the labour market functions, demographics, the education system, the composition of the labour force and incentives for full-time students.

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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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