Sweden’s labour market shows cracks after years of growth

Sweden's labour market shows cracks after years of growth
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
Long, steady improvements in the Swedish labour market are expected to come to an end this year.
Redundancy support organization TRR said on Monday that nearly six years of declining unemployment figures levelled out in the autumn and is now expected to rise. 
“We believe that there will be a slight increase compared to 2018. We anticipate an increase of around 10 percent, going from 11,000 to 12,000 people who will need our services,” Lennart Hedström, the head of TRR Tryggehetsrådet, told broadcaster Sveriges Radio
TRR Trygghetsrådet is a non-profit group that supports redundant white-collar workers associated with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO). TRR works with roughly 35,000 companies with 950,000 employers nationwide. 
Another redundancy group, Trygghetsfonden TSL, also expects more unemployed Swedes will need its services this year. In 2018, TSL was contacted by a record low 10,700 unemployed workers, levels not seen since before the financial crisis. 
“By way of comparison, in 2009 we helped 61,000 people who had lost their jobs. We estimate that the number of redundancies will increase somewhat in 2019 but will really increase in 2020,” TSL director Caroline Söder told Sveriges Radio. 
Both redundancy groups pointed to several signs of cracks in Sweden’s labour market, including an increase in bankruptcies and slower job growth in Stockholm. 
Hedström said that the capital’s slow job growth is emblematic of significant regional differences within the national labour market.  
“Stockholm, which has been the clear leader for quite some time, saw an increase in redundant employees in 2018. Västra Götaland is the strongest metropolitan area, while Skåne has had a fairly large increase in the number of unemployed,” he said. 
If you’re unlucky enough to get caught up in the expected increase in redundancies this year, here is everything you need to know if you lose your job in Sweden

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