Coronavirus unemployment: Which Swedish regions are the worst affected?

Coronavirus unemployment: Which Swedish regions are the worst affected?
A person looking for work via the Swedish Employment Agency. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
More than 60,000 people have been warned of potential layoffs in Sweden since March 1st, as the coronavirus outbreak takes its toll on businesses.

The figures show the first step of the Swedish process for making staff redundant (varsel) and do not necessarily mean that more than 60,000 people will become unemployed as a result. They may find a new job, or their company may be able to benefit from government measures to mitigate the worst economic consequences for businesses, which could mean that they are able to keep their employees on after all.

However, they still paint a stark contrast of life before and after the coronavirus crunch.

Most people were handed their notice between March 23rd and 29th (with 18,433 such notices registered that week, according to the Swedish Employment Agency, Arbetsförmedlingen), a historically high figure.

Last week the corresponding figure was 4,001 people, which suggests that the numbers are going down. But companies only have to report layoff notices given to more than five people which means that not all small businesses will be part of the total statistics.

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It is now possible for businesses to apply for state funding to be able to send workers home temporarily with most of their salary intact. Such state support has so far been granted to 150,000 employees in total.

But for some, the financial burden will still be too high.

Since March 1st, 95,455 people have registered as unemployed with the Employment Agency, according to new figures released on Monday. Sweden's unemployment rate currently stands at 8.0 percent, up from 7.4 percent at the end of January, before the coronavirus epidemic hit the Nordic country in full force.

The map below shows which regions are the worst affected by warnings of potential layoffs (varsel).

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