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Danish job losses exceed 80,000 following coronavirus lockdown

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on Denmark’s jobs market has been underlined by new employment figures from Statistics Denmark.

Danish job losses exceed 80,000 following coronavirus lockdown
Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

With newly-released figures of 14,000 job losses in May, the total number of people who lost employment in March, April and May reached 87,000.

That is the equivalent of all growth in employment since 2017 being wiped out during the course of the three months.

The numbers are also striking when compared with job losses following the global financial crisis of 2007-8, when the worst month for job losses saw 13,700 people lose employment.

Denmark introduced lockdown measures at the beginning of March to slow the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the Nordic country.

Statistics Denmark notes some level of uncertainty must be attached to the figures, given the unusual and unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus lockdown and its impact on jobs.

 

The numbers do not necessarily reflect all job losses, according to the official data agency. People who were let go with a three-month notice period may not be included in the figures, for example.

In addition to people who have lost their jobs, a further 47,000 are still registered for the government scheme paying employees' salaries on behalf of companies and thereby keeping workers under employment during the crisis.

That scheme is scheduled to expire at the end of the summer.

Up to 15 percent of member companies currently using the scheme have said they will be forced to let staff go once it expires, the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv) has said.

“That means that a lot of people who are on wage compensation today can actually expect to return to work when the scheme expires. That’s good news,” Kristian Skriver, an economist with the organisation, said.

“With the wage compensation scheme, job losses could have been much bigger,” he added.

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JOBS

Labour shortage hits half of Danish companies in construction sector

A record-high shortage of labour at some Danish companies is exacerbated in some places by a lack of materials, according to new data.

A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour.
A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The construction industry reports a lack of labour at around half of all companies, according to a survey by Statistics Denmark, based on responses from businesses.

In the service industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and cleaning, one in three companies reported a lack of workforce.

Some industries, notable machinery related businesses, also said they are short of materials currently.

The lack of labour is holding the Danish economy back, according to an analyst.

“Never before have we seen such a comprehensive lack of labour in the Danish economy,” senior economist Søren Kristensen of Sydbank said.

“It’s a shame and it’s a genuine problem for a significant number of the businesses which at the moment are losing revenue as a consequence of the lack of labour,” Kristensen continued.

“That is costly, including for all of Denmark’s economic growth. Even though we on one side can be pleased that it’s going well for the Danish economy, we can also regret that it could have been even better,” the economist said in a comment to news wire Ritzau.

Despite the lack of labour, businesses have their most positive outlook for years, according to Statistics Denmark.

The data agency based its conclusions on a large volume of responses from companies related to revenues, orders and expectations for the future.

The numbers are processed into a measure termer business confidence or erhvervstillid in Danish. The October score for the metric is 118.7, the highest since 2010, although there are differences between sectors.

READ ALSO: Are international workers the answer to Denmark’s labour shortage?

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