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Swedish unemployment falls to below 8 percent

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11:28 CET+01:00
Sweden's unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent in February according to official statistics figures, down from 8.2 percent in the previous month.

The Statistics Sweden (SCB) figures reinforced the picture that the Swedish economy is recovering rapidly from the recession.

Some 392,000 were out of work, 55,000 fewer than in February 2010, SCB reported, continuing the recent downward trend and beating analyst expectations.

Over 4,557,000 people were in work during the month, up from 4,436,000 in the corresponding month of last year.

Youth unemployment, while remaining high, declined by 14,000 people to 147,000 in the month, corresponding to 24.2 percent of those aged 15-24-years-old.

Earlier this month the Swedish government raised its economic growth forecast for the year and said unemployment would shrink significantly, following the recent publication of strong statistics.

Finance Minister Anders Borg now expects Sweden's gross domestic product this year to grow 4.8 percent, up from its previous estimate of 3.7 percent.

After suffering a deep recession during the global financial crisis, with its GDP shrinking 5.3 percent in 2009, Sweden's economy has rapidly recovered, posting 5.5 percent growth in 2010.

After hitting a peak of 8.4 percent in 2010, unemployment is expected to sink to 7.4 percent this year, according to government estimates.

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