Construction sector still strong in Swedish cities

The outlook for the construction industry is far from bleak in Swedish cities, writes news agency TT. Despite an otherwise shaky economic climate, construction is on the rise. Several large building projects in Stockholm will not go on hold, even as the economy cools.

Big projects include Citybanan (the city rail), a project designed to ease commuter train congestion that includes a 6-kilometer tunnel under central Stockholm, two new commuter train stops and a 1.4-kilometer railway bridge across Årstaviken; “Norra länken” (northern link), a new traffic route comprising mostly tunnels that connect Tomteboda to Norrtull on portions of the E4/E20 thoroughfares on the outskirts of Stockholm; and a brand new Karolinska University hospital in Solna – all to stand finished by 2017.

Lars-Johan Blom, who’s in charge of regional forecasts at the Swedish Construction Federation, a lobbying organisation for the building industry, told TT that public building projects are big in Stockholm and won’t be affected by a dampening economy. 

Even Göteborg and Malmö look good. The struggling housing market in Copenhagen has not had a significant effect on construction projects in the Malmö region, in part due to the influx of people to the big cities.

“They say Stockholm County is growing by two busloads of people a day. That means a housing shortage, and a cramped subway system,” said Blom.

The need for more apartments, schools, roads and other infrastructure continues to be great. On the other hand, the odd new shopping centre may be abandoned, such as the Mall of Scandinavia in Solna.

“That project is three years behind schedule. We’ll see whether it gets off the ground. It’s hard to say.  Several mall projects were postponed after the last crisis and now they’re being pushed even further into the future,” said Blom.

But the construction companies are not mourning. According to the National Institute of Economic Research, a majority of companies as recent as this September increased their number of employees.