Consumer confidence at nine-year high

There was a double dose of good news for the Danish economy this week, as new reports revealed that consumer confidence levels are at their highest point since 2006 and youth unemployment is dropping faster in Denmark than anywhere else in Europe.

Consumer confidence at nine-year high
Consumer confidence is twice as high as it was just three months ago. Photo: Kasper Thye/Copenhagen Media Center
Danish consumer confidence hit its highest level since 2006 in February, Statistics Denmark said this week, the latest in a number of signs that the nation has shaken of the effects of the economic crisis. 
As more households felt their financial situation would improve in the coming year, the index rose to 13.9 last month, its highest level in nine years. 
“Consumers continue to assess that their family’s economic situation is better today than it was a year ago. At the same time, they assess Denmark’s economic situation as significantly better than one year ago,” Statistics Denmark stated. 
A consumer confidence index of 13.9 is not only the highest since 2006, it is more than twice as high just three months ago. It is also significantly over the past six months’ average of 8.8. 
The new consumer confidence index came just days after Denmark’s central bank, Nationalbanken, upgraded its economic expectations for 2015. Nationalbanken is now predicting Denmark’s GDP to grow by 2.0 percent this year, a 0.3 percent increase over its projections from December. The bank also marginally upgraded its 2016 growth forecast to 2.1 percent. 
The positive economic news was also coupled with a new report that showed that youth unemployment has decreased faster in Denmark than in any other European country. 
According to numbers from EU statistics agency Eurostat, unemployment among Danes under the age of 25 fell by 23 percent between January 2014 and January 2015. 
“Young people have a long working life ahead of them and the costs to both individuals are enormous if young people are stuck in unemployment,” Employment Minister Henrik Dam Kristensen told the trade magazine Momentum. 

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.