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Economy in Brief

Sweden Employment Gain Best in 5 Years; Unemployment Holds Below 5%
by Carol Stone January 24, 2006

Sweden's labor market conditions were favorable during 2006, with growth in employment and declining unemployment. The December labor force survey, reported today by Statistics Sweden, shows growth in the labor force of 1.1% year/year and growth in employment of 1.9%. The unemployment rate was 4.6%, the fourth consecutive month below 5% and down markedly from 5.4% in December 2005.

For the year as a whole, employment expanded by 2.0%, the best performance since before dot.com-related recessionary conditions struck Sweden in late 2001. The employment rate was 74.3%, up from 73.7% in December 2005 and the highest December since 2001.

Sweden's labor force data were harmonized with the rest of the EU beginning in April 2005. Earlier data were not restated. So historical comparisons are a bit tenuous. Even so, the growth in employment is a genuine and positive development for the nation's economy and its people.

SWEDEN: NSA (000s) Dec 2006 Nov 2006 Dec 2005* 2006 2005* 2004*
Labor Force 4,556 4,568 4,508 4,586 4,517 4,459
  Yr/Yr % Change 1.1% 0.8% 2.0% 1.5% 1.3% 0.2%
Employment 4,345 4,370 4,264 4,340 4,254 4,213
  Yr/Yr % Change 1.9% 1.5% 1.9% 2.0% 1.0% -0.4%
Unemployment Rate (%) 4.6% 4.3% 5.4% 5.3% 5.8% 5.5%
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