According to public service broadcaster SVT, Ericsson is to announce job cuts of between 3,000 and 4,000 later today. The plants in Borås and Kumla will be the worst affected.
The government has been informed of the cuts, but does not wish to comment. “We are in talks with the industry, but we will not comment any reports until Ericsson has made an announcement,” says Gösta Brunnander, press secretary to enterprise minister Mikael Damberg.
SvD reports, however, that Mikael Damberg has already appointed a group of state secretaries who will assist the affected municipalities.
After discussions with Ericsson’s chair Leif Johansson, minister for enterprise Mikael Damberg chose to activate a crisis group for handling potentially huge redundancies.
The news that telecoms giant Ericsson plans to move all manufacturing from Sweden, which would cost 3,000 jobs, was met with surprise and dismay by employees, politicians and unions.
Mikael Damberg spoke directly to chair Leif Johansson on Thursday and says that he has been given confirmation that there is no closure decision. However the conversation did not provide any further reassurance as the minister decided to activate a crisis group of several state secretaries afterwards. “It is a group that works with large changes in business, which is now being activated to be able to act if a decision in that direction comes from the company,” says Mikael Damberg.
The shortage of appropriately trained labour has become so large that it is threatening growth and thus the creation of jobs, therefore jobs growth will slow in 2017 and 2018. Both the public and private sectors have personnel shortages. This warning comes from the Swedish Public Employment Service’s (Arbetsförmedlingen) spring forecast, published on Wednesday.
However optimism among employers, in particular in private service companies, remains high. New jobs are being created across the country, mainly in the major urban areas.
Nevertheless the divisions in the labour market continue. In 2017 three quarters of jobseekers are expected to belong to groups long from the labour market. Around 40% of unemployed today are born outside of Europe and that proportion is expected to grow.
With employment falling in the industrial sector, many happily point to the fast-growing internet sector as the saviour of jobs. In reality, however, the fast-growing sector is not the jobs engine that many claim it to be.
A DI survey shows that the aggregate market value of seven Swedish internet successes – Klarna, iZettle, Soundcloud, Truecaller, Spotify, Mojang and King – is greater than that of stock market giant Sandvik – but they only employ one-tenth as many.
The IT industry’s contribution to GDP is 5%, barely a third of the manufacturing industry, which with its contribution of 16% is still the main engine of the Swedish economy.