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Danish minister wants 'more to join in' as unemployment figure rises

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Danish minister wants 'more to join in' as unemployment figure rises
Danish employment minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen wants to bring more people in from the fringes of the labour market. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The number of unemployed people on the Danish labour market rose by around 500 in October, latest national figures show.

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The new data release from Statistics Denmark therefore confirms a thirteenth consecutive month in which unemployment has risen, although the trend has remained a weak one.

October’s overall figure for unemployment is 85,300, around 2.8 percent of the available workforce and a 0.6 percent increase compared to the preceding month.

In a statement issued in response to the figures, Employment Minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said they can be considered in a positive light but that more people could join the labour force.

“Employment is still low and there’s high activity in both the public and private sector. We have a strong economy which means that many people on the fringes of the labour market have taken jobs, and we should be pleased about that,” she said.

“Our green transition, businesses in general and our welfare sector all need labour, and the government’s focus is to provide more hands. For example, we are currently working on a tripartite agreement where we have earmarked three billion kroner for a wage increase for certain staff in the public sector, where colleagues are particularly needed,” she said.

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The government has previously stated it wants to use negotiations with trade unions and employer confederations to give higher wages to public employees who work in the social care (SOSU in Danish), child care (pædagoger), nursing and prison officer sectors. It has also hinted that other sectors could also get payrises.

“We need to use the good times to get even more to join in. That especially applies to many young people who have not got a foothold in the labour market and who have not started their education,” Halsboe-Jørgensen said.

The unemployment trend is a sign of the economy being in a period of slowdown according to Steen Nielsen of the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).

“But several other key labour market metrics point in a positive direction – employment is still going up, and one in four businesses are reporting a labour shortage,” Nielsen said in a written comment to news wire Ritzau.

“So the overall picture is certainly not only negative,” he said.

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