Economic Records Abound in the Land of Negative Interest RatesBy
After almost six years of negative interest rates, Denmark is making a habit of setting economic records.
The latest is in employment. Never before have more people had jobs in Denmark than at the beginning of this year. According to the statistics agency in Copenhagen, 2,728,800 people were employed in the country in January. That’s 6,800 more than the previous record, which dates back to April 2008. (The number corresponds to about 70 percent of the labor force, which isn’t a record.)
The employment boom comes amid population growth and a series of reforms enacted by the center-right government. Denmark’s hot property market is also driving demand for jobs, with 1,100 added in the overall construction industry in January.
Danish central bank rates first went negative in mid-2012 to defend the krone’s peg to the euro. That dragged down borrowing costs in the mortgage market and has been fanning housing price growth ever since. Danes can get home loans at cheaper rates than the government of the U.S.
But it’s not all good news. Businesses are complaining that labor shortages are hampering economic growth. They’ve urged the government to reverse immigration policies that deter skilled foreigners from moving to the country.