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Sweden’s jobless agency to fire a third of its staff

January 30, 2019 GMT

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s unemployment agency is to shed a third of its staff as part of a cost-cutting measure to meet the demand of lawmakers.

The Public Employment Service said around 4,500 of its 13,500 employees will be laid off to meet the requirement of parliament that it saves 800 million kronor ($88 million) this year.

Mikael Sjoberg, who heads the agency that has 242 offices nationwide, said “it is a heavy decision to make,” adding that “every effort” will be made to help those being made redundant.

Sjoberg also said another government-sanctioned saving of 4.5 billion kronor hit an initiative to help job seekers, but that digitalization, among other changes, “has laid a good foundation for continuing to deliver on a high level.”

Sweden’s unemployment rate is 7 percent.