The unemployment rate in Sweden rose in April from 6.7% to 7.9%, despite the authorities' refusal to introduce strict restrictive measures to combat the COVID-19 spread, Bloomberg reported referring to the Swedish statistical office.
According to it, the unemployment rate excluding seasonal factors amounted to 8.2%. As Bloomberg estimates, unemployment in Sweden in April exceeded economists' forecasts, according to which it was supposed to reach a level of 7.8%.
In turn, an analyst of the agency Johanna Jeansson predicted that the unemployment rate in Sweden could rise to 17% if the employees of the enterprises sent on forced leave did not return to work soon.
The Swedish authorities continue to discuss labor reform, according to which employers will be able to dismiss employees in a simpler way and at lower costs. The proposed amendments caused discontent among the ranks of the trade unions and the opposition, whose members threaten the Swedish PM Stefan Lofven with a vote of no confidence if these proposals come into force.
According to the basic forecast on which the country's government is based in budgeting, Sweden’s GDP will fall by 4.0% in 2020, and by 3.5% next year. Unemployment will increase from 6.8% in 2019 to 9.0% in 2020-2021. But if the crisis is deeper and longer than it is estimated now, GDP will fall by 10% this year, and unemployment will rise to 13.5% in 2020-2021.
The Swedish authorities' strategy to combat COVID-19 is based on voluntary and personal responsibility. After the EU decision, the government closed the borders for foreigners who do not live in the EU; residents of the country were urged not to hold meetings of over 50 people. The authorities also recommended transferring high schools and universities to distance learning, but kindergartens, primary and secondary schools still open. No quarantine has been introduced in the country or individual regions, shops and catering establishments remain open.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Sweden is 33 843 (338 infected per 100 thousand people). The death toll has reached 4,029.