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World's Most Generous Welfare State Leaves 20% on the Dole

Norwegian welfare agency study shows broad dependence on benefits across nation 

Terje Soviknes, Norway's petroleum and energy minister, center, speaks with Tim Dodson, Statoil ASA's head of exploration,right, and Jez Averty, Statoil ASA's head of exploration for Norway and the UK, aboard Songa Offshore's Songa Enabler rig, operated by Statoil ASA, in the Snohvit gas field in the Barents Sea off the coast of northern Norway, on Monday, April 24, 2017. Norway is betting the under-explored Barents could boost its oil industry, after crude production fell by half since 2000.
Photographer: Mikhael Holter/Bloomberg

Norway, we have a problem.

Unemployment may be hovering below 3 percent, but the oil crisis that has hammered Scandinavia’s richest nation could be leaving a permanent mark. More than a fifth of its working age population relied on unemployment or sick-leave benefits throughout 2016, according to a study by the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration, or NAV.