Swedish unemployment rate could reach 10% by summer - Labour Board

STOCKHOLM, April 14 (Reuters) - Unemployment in Sweden could reach 10% in the coming months if the current wave of lay-offs due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus continues, the Labour Board said on Tuesday.

Unemployment was 7.4% in February, but many companies have since shut down and sent workers home due to supply chain problems and measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The situation on the labour market is serious and if the development continues, we could hit a peak of around 10% registered unemployed during the summer,” Annika Sunden, chief analyst at the Labour Board, said in a statement.

The Board said 56,133 people had been given notice in the period from March 1 to April 12. In the last week of that period, 6,600 were given notice. That was fewer than the 12,733 given notice the week before, which itself was down somewhat on the previous week.

A government-related think tank forecast unemployment averaging 8.7% this year and rising further to 8.9% in 2021.

Unemployment was 8.6 percent in 2010, the worst year following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. (Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Niklas Pollard)