Through my research and study on Sweden, I came across some information that I found very interesting. As of this past December 2008, Sweden loosened its labor migration laws to allow for anyone from any country to be able to work in Sweden. Sweet! And, to top that off, Sweden is one of the few major countries with a sound financial system and public finances (not to mention the advantages of their national currency, the krona) remaining strong even through the current economic crisis affecting the United States, and in turn, the world. Both Sweden’s minister for finance Anders Borg and professor of political economics at the Stockholm School of Economics (Handelshögskolan), Tson Söderströmare, are optimistic about Sweden’s financial future particularly during these hard times.
With the high unemployment rate only getting bigger every month in the United States (currently at 9.4% totaling 14.5 million Americans), Sweden’s newly revised labor migration laws for foreigners couldn’t come at a better time. Although uncertainty surrounds the topic of when the recession will end, it is clear that it will continue to worsen before it can get any better. Catherine Holahan from MSN’s Money Blog claims that the recession will end two months after unemployment reaches its peak; passing the 10% mark.
Part of what makes Sweden such an financially strong country during the current economic crisis is the krona. Sweden never joined the euro, instead opting to stick to its national currency. As reported by Jonas Fredén in the Business section of the Sweden website, “As demand for Swedish products falls, so will demand for the Swedish krona. The price of the krona, the exchange rate, then drops, making products cheaper for foreigners. And that brings demand back up. This automatic exchange rate cushion helps soften blows from abroad.” Additionally, as reported on the same site which cites its source as the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings, in regards to technological readiness (the “ability of businesses and households to adopt new technology”), Sweden is the number one global leader. They must be doing something right.
In short, if you’ve lost your job, want to change jobs, are experiencing a salary freeze, or if you’re just plain sick and tired of the effects of the recession here in the US … go to Sweden! I’m not promising a recession-free country with lollipops and candy canes, but I can guarantee:
- At least 5 weeks of paid vacation (and if you get sick during your vacation, count it as sick, no problem!)
- At least 13 months of paid maternity leave (Dads, what the hey, take 1 month!) … and don’t feel rushed, carry it over for up to 5 years.
- Free massage at work (this should be a world-wide policy)
- Simplified tax forms
- Free child health care
- Up to 60 days of paid leave per year to take care of a sick child
- Child allowance up to age 16
- Housing allowance for young people without children
- Housing allowance for families with children
- And more…