Jobless rise leads to calls for more low-skilled jobs for immigrants
Sweden's unemployment rate rose in April for the first time since 2013, leading critics to call for a change to speed-up the two-year integration programme for newly arrived immigrants to find work.
The public employment service (Arbetsförmedlingen), published its single month estimate of unemployment on Wednesday, which revealed that the number of people looking for work in April rose by 4,000 (to 364,000) compared to the same month last year. The increase, which will continue throughout 2017, was the first recorded rise in four years.
The agency said the jobless increase can be explained by the fact that the large group who came as refugees in the autumn of 2015 have been given their residence permits, and have registered at the public employment service and joined its integration programme.
Edward Hamilton, an expert in labour market issues at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), tells Radio Sweden that the government has a lack of urgency about coming through with structural reforms to make Sweden's labour market more inclusive.
He says that this is very important against the background of the influx of migrants coming to Sweden and the public employment service and its integration programme should be reformed.
Today's numbers were not a surprise. We are concerned about this. There are clear challenges and there is not a quick fix but we need more entry level jobs reforms and need to make the language and vocational training programmes more results focused," Edward Hamilton says.
He is also critical of the work of the public employment service (Arbetsförmedlingen).
"The public employment service has the lowest confidence rating with the Swedish public and we think reform is needed given the 75 billion kronor spent every year and a broader look should be taken. We should look at Australia and Germany for instance, and look at the work of private actors."