Swedish unemployment rate rises for first time in two years

Swedish unemployment rate rises for first time in two years
Unemployment was higher among women than men for the first time since 2011. Photo: Bertil Ericson / TT
Sweden’s unemployment rate rose during July after a long period of falling steadily, and is expected to further increase over the next few months.

At the end of July, a total of 344,000 people were classed as being unemployed in Sweden, according to new figures from the Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen). This represents an increase of 5,000 people compared with the same month last year, and was the first month-on-month increase since autumn 2017.

The reason for the rise was fewer people beginning new jobs: around 5,000 fewer people started new jobs last month than in July 2018. On the other hand, only 2,600 people were dismissed from their current jobs, lower than the monthly average of around 3,900 dismissals per month over the past year.

“Our assessment is that the unemployment rate will continue to rise during autumn 2019 and 2020. This is explained partly by a weaker state of the market and partly by the lower number of subsidized positions,” Public Employment Agency analyst Anders Ljungberg said in a statement.

“There is a big risk of increased long-term unemployment, especially among those with a low level education. Because of that, it’s important to keep on motivating people into studies that will lead to work,” he added.

Among women, the unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, compared to 6.8 percent for men, making July 2019 the first time since 2011 that unemployment was higher among women than men. When looking only at younger people (aged 18-24), unemployment was however considerably lower among young women (6.9 percent) than young men (10.0 percent).

Unemployment among foreign-born people dropped slightly, from 19.9 to 19 percent, but remained significantly higher than the rate among native Swedes (among whom the rate rose from 3.6 to 3.7 percent).



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