Sweden’s unemployment rate fell to a 14-month low in April, providing surprisingly favourable data for the central bank as it seeks to increase interest rates amid slowing economic growth.
The seasonally adjusted rate came in at 5.9 percent, down from a 17-month high of 6.7 percent in March. Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected a rate of 6.5 percent.
Statistics Sweden said the number of employed persons increased by 93,000 in April from a year earlier.
The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.9 percentage points to 6.2 percent in April from the previous month. In its latest monetary policy report, the Riksbank revised up its unemployment forecast for 2019, to 6.4 percent.
The central bank also pointed to the fact that the labor force is increasing at a slower rate now that labor market participation has reached historically high levels. The OECD blamed “skill mismatches” for hampering “further reductions in unemployment” this week as it warned of a slowdown now that Sweden’s construction boom is over.
The data was “really a positive surprise” and a “good thing for the Riksbank,” Knut Hallberg, an economist at Swedbank, said on Twitter. “This confirms that the weak March data was an effect of Easter.”