Goals and visions of labour market

The objective of labour market policy is that the measures taken contribute to a well-functioning labour market. Labour market policy must improve matching between those seeking work and those seeking labour. It must also promote diversity and gender equality, and counteract discrimination in working life and gender segregation in the labour market.

The Government's objective is for Sweden to have the lowest unemployment rate in the EU by 2020. This objective will be reached by increasing the number of people working and the number of hours worked in the economy. A labour market that functions smoothly and makes use of people's skills and desire to work forms the foundation of Sweden's welfare. The Government's target for unemployment is ambitious and the challenges that lie ahead are considerable. An active labour market policy is an important part of the Government's jobs agenda.

Improving labour market matching

Labour shortages are considerable in several parts of the Swedish labour market. In this situation, it is important that labour market policy makes it easier for employers to find suitable people, helping jobs to fill more quickly. An important part of this work is equipping unemployed women and men who lack the relevant education, training and experience to fill these vacant jobs. Access to a labour force with the right education and training is crucial for Swedish growth, jobs and welfare. The shortage of personnel with the right training, experienced by several sectors, risks curbing the upswing in employment. The major investments in the Adult Education Initiative and the focus on matching are important for Sweden.

Reducing young people's unemployment period

Too many young people start their adult life in long-term unemployment. Young people without upper secondary education, young people with disabilities that impair their capacity to work and foreign-born young people who arrived in Sweden in their late teens have the greatest difficulty entering the labour market. The Government has therefore taken the initiative for the 90-day guarantee, which involves a maximum limit for how long a young person can be unemployed before being offered a job, a measure leading to a job, or a position in education or training.

Increasing proportion of new arrivals leaving the introduction system to take up work or study

The large number of asylum seekers and the rapidly growing number of people in the introduction system at Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish Public Employment Service) means that the number of people in the labour force who have been in the country for a short time will increase. This may counteract a fall in unemployment, as it takes time for new arrivals to become established in the labour market. The proportion of people taking jobs or positions in education and training after completing introduction activities has increased, but remains at too low a level. It is important that the Public Employment Service is given the conditions to meet these challenges and that it intensifies its efforts to increase the proportion of people who go on to work or study.

Preventing and combating long-term unemployment

Long-term unemployment remains a challenge. The Government has stopped the inflow of new participants to phase 3 of the job and development guarantee programme. Long-term unemployed people will instead be offered active labour market policy measures that are based on the needs of the individual and that strengthen their ability to find a job or begin studying.