‘Record-low’ youth unemployment in Sweden

'Record-low' youth unemployment in Sweden
There's light on the horizon for Sweden's jobless youth. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Youth unemployment in Sweden has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis in 2008.

“In the past few years the number of unemployed youths registered with Arbetsförmedlingen has fallen gradually to record-low levels,” Sweden's national job agency celebrated in a new report on Monday.

The number of young people registered as unemployed in the Nordic country dropped to 55,000 people in November, almost half the number of the 101,000 unemployed youths in the country five years ago.

That means that 14.0 percent of registered job seekers aged 16-24 were still out of a job last month, down from 19.8 percent in the third quarter of 2012 and the lowest level of youth unemployment since 2003.

Arbetsförmedlingen also writes in its report that it has now met the so-called '90-day guarantee' which states that all unemployed youths should an offer for a job, education or some kind of opportunity that leads to work within 90 days (it takes on average 53 days today, compared to 80 days in 2015).

However, the job centre warns that some groups of young people are still struggling more than others: for example youths without a gymnasie degree (senior high school), young  people who for various reasons are not able to work as much as the average person, or young people born outside of Europe.

A total of 21,000 non-European youths were registered as unemployed in late October 2017, of which 11,000 were registered as part of Arbetsförmedlingen's Introduction Programme (Etableringsuppdraget). The programme was created to quickly integrate refugees into Swedish society and involves creating a plan tailored to each individual newcomer to the country according to their work experience and education in order to equip them for further education or work.

“This shows that Arbetsförmedlingen, within the framework of the youth guarantee, has to offer early, individual support to those youths who need it. Cooperation with local authorities is necessary, not least when it comes to getting more youths into education,” said director-general Mikael Sjöberg in a statement.

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The new figures come shortly after a global report on the labour market showed that the situation in Sweden was tougher than in any other country, despite unemployment reaching a record low last month.

One of the main reasons, according to global recruitment agency Hays, was a talent mismatch, meaning that companies in certain industries were struggling to find the right candidates so there are vacancies in highly-skilled industries. This means that wages in these areas are edging up in order to attract more candidates.

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