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Sweden Unemployment Rate Eases For Fifth Month

Sweden's jobless rate eased for a fifth consecutive month in December, preliminary figures from the Swedish Public Employment Service showed on Thursday.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent from 4.7 percent in November. The rate has been easing since August.

The registered unemployment rate climbed to 8.8 percent from 7.4 percent in the same month last year. In November, the rate was 8.7 percent.

The youth aged 18-24 who were registered unemployed were 11.8 percent of the total, which marked a leap from 9.2 percent in the same month last year.

The average unemployment in 2020, an year that saw the economy being severely hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, was 437,000 persons, the highest figure since 1997, the PES said.

"The corona pandemic hit hard in an economy that was already slowing down," Annika Sunden, head of analysis at the Swedish Public Employment Service, said.

"The crisis has also accelerated a structural transformation which means that certain jobs in, for example, trade will not return."

Sunden also expressed concern over the continued rise in long-term unemployment, which is already at record highs.

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