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    Sweden's Snow Job: Migrants Spark Housing Problems, Spur Unemployment

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    The number of Swedish municipalities suffering from an acute housing shortage has increased dramatically following last year's refugee chaos. The worst affected are the elderly and the young, an overview by the National Housing Board shows. Unsurprisingly, many pros anticipate a looming economic catastrophe in light of the deepening housing crisis.

    A recent survey of the housing market evaluated that 240 of Sweden's 290 municipalities suffer from a shortage of housing, a 30-percent increase in comparison to last year's figures.

    According to the National Housing Board, this is due to the rapid growth of the population as a result of the dramatic influx of asylum immigrants from the Third World. According to the report, the situation is particularly difficult for the young, the elderly and the new arrivals, with the outlook rapidly deteriorating.

    According to the government's calculations, 250,000 new homes are needed, whereas the public housing organization SABO indicated the need for a whopping 426,000 new homes in a country of less than 10 million people.

    However, misfortunes never come alone, as numerous experts have been warning of an impending economic catastrophe, which has only been aggravated by the snowballing housing difficulties. According to a recent report by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), the country's largest business federation, Sweden's increasingly tangled housing market is wreaking havoc on employment recruiters.

    Svenskt Näringsliv's Chief Economist Jonas Frycklund argues that large-scale migration and rapid technological developments are creating shifting demands within the Swedish economy. He suggests that some 460,000 new jobs will be needed in Sweden by 2020 in order for the Scandinavian country to reach its target of having the lowest unemployment rate in the EU.

    Refugees sleep outside the entrance of the Swedish Migration Agency's arrival center for asylum seekers at Jagersro in Malmo, Sweden, November 20, 2015.
    © REUTERS / Stig-Ake Jonsson/TT News Agency/Files
    However, according to Svensk Näringsliv, 61 percent of companies experienced recruitment problems last year, with employers citing Sweden's housing shortage in 31 percent of cases, newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported.

    "Sweden has obvious structural problems that tend to hold back economic growth," he said, adding that there was a significant risk of "bottlenecking" in the Swedish economy.

    Mehmet Kaplan
    © AFP 2019 / Henrik Montgomery / SCANPIX-SCANPIX
    Property prices in the nation have gone through the roof in recent years, while growing housing queues spur the less fortunate to take short, second-hand contracts at inflated prices. This means that recruiters going talent-hunting abroad or in other parts of the country may struggle to persuade people to relocate.

    The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Sweden currently lacks a Housing Minister following Mehmet Kaplan's acrimonious resignation following a number of public scandals and a media row involving hate speech and an Islamic supremacist agenda.

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    Tags:
    unemployment, housing crisis, Dagens Nyheter, Mehmet Kaplan, Scandinavia, Sweden
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