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Sweden's labour market continues to wobble

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17:25 CET+01:00
Sweden’s manufacturing sector shed more than 80,000 jobs in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2008, marking the sector’s sharpest year-on-year employment drop since 1993.

The overall labour market also remained weak, with the number of people employed in Sweden dropping by 2.8 percent overall in the third quarter, to a total of 4,042,400, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden (SCB).

But manufacturing was hit especially hard in the past year, experiencing a 12.4 percent drop in the number of people employed in the sector between the third quarter of 2008 and 2009.

According to SCB, the there were fewer Swedes working across the entire manufacturing sector, although the drop was largest in the transport and machine tools industries.

In addition, the number of available manufacturing positions fell by 65 percent to 2,300 unfilled Swedish manufacturing jobs.

Overall labour demand decreased substantially as well, with only 27,600 job openings in the labour market in the third quarter, a decrease of 42 percent from the year before.

Despite the relatively weak employmet figures, Tord Strannefors with Sweden’s National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) said there is reason to remain optimistic.

“We’ve had a huge drop in employment since the fourth quarter last year, which peaked during the second and third quarters, and since then things has leveled off,” he told the financial news website E24.

Strannefors reckons Sweden has lost 150,000 jobs since the summer of 2008, but that the labour market should recover sometime by the middle of 2010.

“We have more job losses ahead of us, but the downturn won’t be as big as before. Indicators show at that the downturn is leveling off and will hit bottom next year, and then employment will stop falling – sometime around next summer,” he told E24.

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