Swedish Unemployment Falls as Job Losses Slide to 10-Month Low

Swedish unemployment fell last month as the export-reliant economy is showing signs of rebounding amid optimism Europe will emerge from its debt crisis.

The non-seasonally adjusted rate, as measured by the number of people claiming benefits, declined to 4.7 percent in February from 4.8 percent the previous month, the Stockholm-based Public Employment Service said in a statement on its website today. The median estimate of six economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for unemployment to stay unchanged.

Manufacturing confidence in the $500 billion economy improved to its highest level in six months in February as export orders stopped falling. Surveys of Swedish purchasing managers signaled activity in the manufacturing and services sectors both expanded last month, indicating the worst may behind the economy which grew more than forecast in the fourth quarter at an annual 1.4 percent.

Sweden sells about half its output abroad, of which about 70 percent go to Europe. Economic growth will accelerate this year to 1.1 percent after slowing to 0.8 percent last year, the government predicted on Dec. 21.

Job cuts slowed to a seasonally adjusted 4,191 last month, the lowest since April, down from as high as 7,883 in November.

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