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Joblessness in Sweden to remain high: Borg

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Joblessness in Sweden to remain high: Borg
10:24 CEST+02:00
The government expects unemployment in Sweden to remain high in the coming years, according to forecasts in the autumn budget bill presented on Wednesday by Finance Minister Anders Borg.

"Unemployment is not expected to show clear signs of falling until the end of 2015," Borg said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sweden's unemployment rate is forecast to reach 8.2 percent in 2014 and remain above seven percent for the next few years before dipping down to 6.4 percent in 2017.

While Borg conceded that the global recession that has plagued Europe in recent years had adversely impacted Sweden, the country's economy had fared fairly well by comparison.

"Sweden is in a position of strength that allows fiscal policy to support measures for growth and jobs," the statement read.

Borg emphasized that the main priority of the government is employment and policies to encourage job creation in growing companies in the wake of the economic crisis.

"What's critical for Sweden are job creation measures and that more companies can grow and hire so that more people get jobs and unemployment is pushed back from the high level following the crisis," Borg wrote.

GDP growth is expected to climb from 1.2 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent in 2014, reaching 3.9 percent in 2016 before falling back to 2.9 percent in 2017.

A weak global economy as well as increased expenditures for sickness benefits and other welfare system transfers will result in limited room in the budget for major reforms in 2014.

In addition to job creation measures, the government plans to boost household finances by spending roughly 20 billion ($3.1 billion) of the 24 billion kronor ($3.7 billion) that have been set aside in the budget for reforms.

Sweden is expected to run a deficit of 1.2 percent, not reaching the government's goal of a one percent surplus until 2017.

TT/The Local/dl

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