Redundancy notices hit three-year high

Redundancy notices hit three-year high
Almost 50,000 people have been served redundancy notices in 2012, the highest figure in three years, according to new figures from Sweden's National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen).

The figures come on the back of 7,300 redundancy notices in September and amid warnings that there is little light at the end of the tunnel.

“We are seeing increasing concern for the debt crisis and demand crisis in Europe which affects us very much and it is very, very worrying,” said Minister for Employment Hillevi Engström to the TT news agency.

According to the statistics, some 46,500 people had been served with redundancy notices through the end of September, in comparison to a figure of just under 30,000 for the corresponding period of 2011.

October has continued the trend with news reports indicating that a further 1,200 people across the country have been served notice of redundancy.

Among the companies announcing lay offs is steel firm SSAB which indicated on Thursday that 450 jobs would be cut, and paper firm Holmen which has announced the closure of its paper plant in Hallstavik north of Stockholm.

Anders Rune, head economist at employer’s group Industriföretagen, argued that the crisis within the Swedish manufacturing industry is only just beginning.

“We can’t detect the outline of the bottom of the economic cycle just yet,” he said.

According to union group IF Metall, over 100,000 jobs have been lost within Swedish industry since the spring of 2008.

But Hillevi Engström rejected claims that Sweden is heading for the “mass unemployment” which the Red-Green opposition has long argued already exists.

“No we are not there yet. We have concerns in Sweden, but at the same time we can note that we have the lowest level of long-term unemployment in Europe.”

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