Sweden’s national employment office has come up with a plan for jobs in the Swedish town of Soderhamn: send people out of the country to look for jobs in Norway. They have designed a program to send young workers up to 28 years old to Oslo on “Job Journeys” to hopefully find a job in their new city. The government will pay for their plane tickets and a place to stay for a month while they search for work. The Daily Telegraph reported that the town of Soderhamn has an unemployment rate of over 25 percent.
Nima Sanandaji published a study on “The Surprising Ingredients of Swedish Success” for the Institute for Economic Affairs in August 2012. Sanandaji showed that Sweden’s rise in tax revenues have devastated the job market in the country in the last 50 years. Starting at 21 percent of GDP in 1950, taxes increased by a percentage point every year for the next 30 years. In addition to extremely high unemployment, especially among young people, Sweden has witnessed an overall economic decline in relation to other countries. Sanandaji wrote: “The rapid growth of the state in the late 1960s and 1970s led to a large decline in Sweden’s relative economic performance. In 1975, Sweden was the 4th richest industrialized country in terms of GDP per head. By 1993, it had fallen to 14th.”
The Swedish people have tremendous human capital – American Swedes outperform native Swedes by 50 percent, but even so they cannot create jobs in an atmosphere of suffocating big government. They did start some market reforms in the 1990s and the situation has improved since then, but they still have some serious work to do if they are sending young people abroad in search of employment.