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Swedish youth working in Denmark down by 60 per cent

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The number of Swedes between 16 and 24 working in Denmark has plummeted – from 3 056 in 2007 to about 1 300 in 2013. And the numbers were already on the rise again last year. Photo: News Øresund – Johan Wessman.

Young, Swedish Öresund-commuters haven’t had it easy during the financial crisis. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of Swedes between 16 and 24 years of age working in Denmark has dropped 60 per cent. But an analysis by the Öresundsinstitut shows that the numbers are on their way up again.

“The situation in 2006-2007 was a special one; the Danish economy was overheating and employers were calling out for more employees,” says the chief analyst at Öresundsinstitut, Britt Andresen.

She points out that young Swedes were not as successful at retaining their jobs in Denmark during the economic slump as young Danes were. In 2007, there were 3 056 young Swedes between 16 and 24 years of age working in Denmark. Last year, a mere 1 300 young Swedes were still in the Danish workforce.

“From a regional perspective, it is disconcerting,” she says.

Many Öresund commuters live in Malmö and work in Copenhagen. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of young Malmö residents working in Copenhagen went from 1 927 to 830. Retail workers in particular lost their jobs.

Youth have been affected most by the crisis, and they are also the ones who feel the change in the Danish economy’s pulse first. Last year, the number of Swedish youth in the Danish workforce had already climbed 21 per cent, and Britt Andresen expects the tendency to continue through 2014.

“However, we expect that the number of Öresund commuters will rise at a more even rate than what we witnessed during the last economic boom.”

Jobs in Denmark have brought unemployment rates down in Malmö. Without the Danish market, the number of unemployed youth in Malmö would have been relatively high, even during the last boom. But for youth in Skåne, Öresund commutes follow the economic fluctuations.

”That means that young Swedes’ appearance in the Danish workforce is primarily a phenomenon reserved for times of prosperity,” writes Britt Andresen in the analysis.

The interest in working in Denmark, however, does not seem to have diminished, and the turn for the better is palpable as more and more Swedish youth are being employed in Copenhagen again.

“We often get visits from young people who have gotten employment, and we also have direct enquiries from Danish companies looking to employ young Swedes,” says Sandra Forsén from Øresunddirekt.

Swedish youth who lost their jobs in Denmark receive unemployment benefits from Sweden; the country in which an employee has national insurance is the determining factor. There are other rules and conditions for part-time unemployment, however.

“In general, if a border commuter with a full-time job becomes unemployed, she is required to register as a job-seeker from her first day without employment,” Sandra Forsén.

Likewise, the unemployed are required to apply directly to an unemployment fund for their field of employment in their country of residence. (News Øresund)

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