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Swedish Unemployment Gains as Europe Debt Crisis Hurts Exports

Swedish unemployment rose in December as companies cut jobs in the largest Nordic economy amid sliding exports.

The non-seasonally adjusted rate, as measured by the number of people claiming benefits, increased to 4.8 percent from 4.6 percent a month earlier, the Stockholm-based Public Employment Service said today. That was in line with estimates.

Sweden’s manufacturing industry contracted for a fifth consecutive month in December as the debt crisis eroded demand for exports, about 70 percent of which go to Europe. Industrial production fell 1.3 percent in November, Statistics Sweden said yesterday. The government last month cut its economic outlook for this year and next, seeing 1.1 percent growth in gross domestic product in 2013, versus an earlier estimate for a 2.7 percent expansion.

“The number of people served notice is still high and stood at 5,700 people,” said Clas Olsson, head of analysis at the agency, in a statement. “While comparing that with the 9,800 notices in November might give an impression that things are looking brighter, it’s difficult to draw any certain conclusions of a trend change.”

The number of job vacancies fell to 40,860 in December from 49,477 a year earlier and 190,848 people took part in government programs, up from 178,267 a year earlier.

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