More Swedes excluded from job market

The government has failed to achieve its main goal of reducing the number of people who are inactive in the job market. New statistics show that their numbers have swelled by 6,500 in the last four years.

The figures come from the Department of Employment, which collects data about the unemployed, those on sick leave and early retirees. They show that the “excluded,” or those who are not engaged in the job market, has increased by 6,528 persons.

The number of unemployed in particular has increased, while those taking early retirement and sick leave have sharply decreased. A total of 1.59 million people are excluded, according to the Department of Employment’s definition.

Reducing job market isolation has been the government’s most important objective. In 2006, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a government statement that the overall goal is to create conditions for more jobs and “thereby overcoming exclusion.”

He added that “over 1 million people are inactive from the job market. Despite strong growth, there is mass unemployment.”

During political debates in the spring, the government pointed out that Sweden has gone through a deep financial crisis and the country has emerged as one of Europe’s strongest economies thanks to government policy.

The opposition Social Democrats believe that the numbers of socially excluded have increased considerably more. They have commissioned Sweden’s parliament’s, the Riksdag’s, inquiry service to count how many people aged 16 to 64 are not participating in the job market, a somewhat different way to compile the figures to the Department of Employment’s.

According to party secretary Ibrahim Baylan, this measure also captures those who are not part of any “system,” such as young people who have not registered with Public Employment Services (Arbetsförmedlingen) and do not receive any kind of compensation or assistance.

He pointed out that the ruling Moderates used this definition before the last election, but asserted that since then, they have altered the standards to get better figures.

“No matter how one counts them, they have failed their big electoral promise to reduce exclusion,” he said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.” 
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.