Tuesday, June 28, 2005

How high is total Swedish unemployment?

This might not seem like a difficult question. After all, the unemployment number is readily available. It takes a few seconds to check up the American unemployment number, 5.1% in May. Not so with Sweden. Yes, there is an official number, 5.2% in May 2005. But this figure is almost compleatly worthless. The true unemployment number is in fact closer to 20%, as shown below. Sweden has several massive government programs that contain must of the unemployed, chiefly Early Retirement, Sick Leave, Labor Market Programs and Welfare. In addition, since students get a monthly stipend and loan, many unemployed continue to study when they can’t find work. The right in Sweden has for some time complained about the government hiding the unemployment in ‘programs’. But the question only came to the public knowledge when LO, the immensely powerful blue-collar union had one of it’s own turn against them. Hans Karlsson, a leftwing heavyweight, concluded that true unemployment was more in the ballpark of 20-25%, not 5% as the government was claiming. To make things even worse this guy happened to have the name as the Minister for Labor!


At June 28, 2005 10:43 PM, Blogger Evan said...

Not too surprising. Below is a similar argument about Denmark, although from a few years ago:

Denmark: Potemkin Village.

At June 29, 2005 12:16 AM, Blogger Don Miguel said...

Why do I get the feeling that we're looking at an upside-down pyramid waiting to collapse?

At June 29, 2005 2:40 PM, Blogger Jeremiah said...

The figures, even by LO, are misleading. It is probably impossible to determine exactly how high unemployment really is but closer to 20% is probably right. The government is now trying to cut down on medical disability payments (sjukskrivning) and might focus on early retirement as well (förtidspensionär.)
But the best thing they can do is to lower the taxes on labor.

Come'on Sweden, get it together!


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