Unemployment falls in Denmark for ninth consecutive month

Denmark’s labour market appears to be in rude health, with employment numbers increasing over an extended period.

Unemployment falls in Denmark for ninth consecutive month
File photo: NIELS AHLMANN OLESEN/Ritzau Scanpix

The number of unemployed fell in December by 700 to a total of 105,100, the ninth month in a row in which the figure has decreased, according to Statistics Denmark data.

Unemployment fell by a total of 8,300 in 2018. At 3.8 percent, the proportion of unemployment was unchanged in December relative to November.

Economist Signe Roed-Frederiksen of Arbejdernes Landsbank said the small reductions in unemployment were a positive trend, despite little sign that new jobs are being created.

“This reflects the fact that more people are joining the labour market. But there is much to suggest that employment will lose momentum during the (coming year),” Roed-Frederiksen said.

“A combination of less economic growth and fewer available hands for work will place a natural dampener on job growth,” she added in written comments to Ritzau.

In just over five years, around 200,000 people have gained employment, while unemployment has fallen by approximately 50,000, as the overall size of the work force has increased.

The Confederation of Danish Industry’s vice director Steen Nielsen stressed that companies in Denmark continue to find it difficult to fill vacant positions.

“In good times such as now, many companies are having trouble finding the employees they need,” Nielsen said.

“More employees are needed for companies, and if we ignore this challenge, we are risking an abrupt slow-down,” he added.

Unemployment in Denmark is at its lowest level since February 2009, just before the effects of the global financial crisis began to impact jobs.

READ ALSO: Danish bill to tighten residency requirement for unemployment insurance passed by narrow majority


‘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.