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Norway Unemployment Unexpectedly Rises as Economic Growth Slows

Norway’s jobless rate unexpectedly rose in the October quarter as companies prepared for weaker economic growth amid a recession in the euro area.

Unemployment rose to 3.2 percent from a revised 3.1 percent in the previous period, the Oslo-based Statistics Norway said today. The figure was above a 3 percent average forecast of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The world’s fourth-richest nation per capita has so far withstood a contraction in the euro area as record investment in in its petroleum industry fuels demand for workers. Growth in the mainland economy, which excludes oil, gas and shipping, is estimated to slow to 3 percent in 2013 from 3.75 percent last year, according to central bank forecasts.

“The overall picture is still a solid job market, but there are some signs that employment growth is slowing,” said Kyrre Aamdal, a senior economist at DNB ASA in Oslo, in a note to clients.

A central bank survey showed last month that Norwegian companies expect weaker economic growth over the next six months as Europe’s debt crisis hurts exports.

Policy makers, who expect unemployment to average 3 percent this year, kept the bank’s benchmark rate unchanged at 1.5 percent in December and stuck to a plan to raise rates as soon as March.

The krone weakened 0.2 percent to 5.6126 per dollar as of 10:34 a.m. in Oslo. The currency was 0.1 percent stronger against the euro at 7.3170.

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