Swedish government predicts unemployment will drop to 5.9 percent in 2018

The Swedish government has predicted that unemployment will drop to 5.9 percent in 2018, taking a more optimistic view than in previous estimates.

Swedish government predicts unemployment will drop to 5.9 percent in 2018
Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

That's 0.5 percentage points lower than a previous forecast made in the spring of this year, and the government insists the reason is that their policies have had an impact. They also predict that the unemployment rate will stay at 5.9 percent in 2019 and 2020.

“Unemployment will continue to go down. Everyone who can work will work,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said in a statement before the government’s budget meeting in Sörmland on Thursday.

The prediction may be optimistic however: according to Sweden’s Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), unemployment was at 7.3 percent as of July 2017.

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During the meeting in Sörmland, Andersson will go over the economic situation in Sweden and the conditions for the 2018 budget.

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) has been pushing the government for several reforms ahead of the meeting, asking for more investment in welfare, training for what they call “real jobs”, higher taxes on capital and and increased child support.

“Employees must receive a greater share of the wealth that is being created. The autumn budget must include a major emphasis on families with children through increased child support,” LO chairperson Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson and three of his colleagues wrote in an opinion piece published in Dagens Nyheter on Thursday.

In August, surprisingly strong economic growth in Sweden led forecasters to update their predictions for the year, revising the estimate for growth to three percent in 2017 – up from 2.5 percent.

That followed news that the Swedish economy grew by four percent between the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2017, comfortably beating the predicted 2.8 percent growth in that period.

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