AF demands more money to cope with long-term unemployment

Charlie Taylor

The government urges the Swedish Public Employment Service to take a greater grip on long-term unemployment. Good, but then we need at least another 400 million, the authority answers.Published: 5 March 2022, 09:47In the same crank as The Swedish Public Employment Service has submitted its budget documentation for 2023, and the government will submit new assignments to the authority. ”We see that more needs to be done to crack down on long-term unemployment. We have more than 20,000 people who have been unemployed for more than 6 years and spin around in various initiatives. AF may now propose measures to provide the right support “, says Minister of Labor Eva Nordmark (S) to TT. About half, 180,000, of those now registered as unemployed have been out of work for more than a year. This is a historically high proportion. The second assignment is for the Swedish Public Employment Service to increase its presence in vulnerable areas before next year, where many people who have not established themselves in the labor market live. “We must break segregation and then labor market policy has an important role.” , says Nordmark.In the instructions to The Swedish Public Employment Service for 2022, the so-called regulation letter, says the government will reduce long-term unemployment and a larger proportion of those who are far from the labor market will go into work. With the new assignments, the government is increasing the pressure further. “We are raising our ambitions for next year,” says Eva Nordmark. She emphasizes that the number of registered unemployed has fallen sharply in the past year, from 460,000 at the beginning of 2021 to 370,000 at the end of the year. “Then there are better conditions to focus on the long-term unemployed. The authority has the resources it needs for the assignment today and then we will have to discuss 2023, ”says Nordmark. In the budget documentation for 2023, the Swedish Public Employment Service paints a picture of great pressure on many fronts. The authority is still in a major transformation where most will be outsourced to private actors while the authority retains responsibility, will increase controls and increase the local presence. And reduce long-term unemployment. “If you have higher expectations than what we are currently delivering, we must discuss the financing,” says CEO Maria Mindhammar. In the budget base she estimates that her authority will need at least 430 million more in increased administrative appropriations in 2023. This year, the new matching services will be introduced on a full scale and form the core of the new Arbetsförmedlingen. The services are tools for assessing a jobseeker’s conditions and experiences and guiding him or her on to appropriate measures with private actors. But it has proven to work poorly or not at all for people who have been unemployed for a long time. It provides additional work for the authority. “Matching services are developed in a different context than the one we now have with so many long-term unemployed and a structural transformation that means that some end up further away from work and stay longer in long-term unemployment,” says Maria Mindhammar. Eva Nordmark also says that matching services are not the model for everyone. “It is obvious that among those who are far away, matching services are not enough”, says Nordmark. She notes that they often have income support and need language training and perhaps support from a non-profit organization to move forward. ”The government wants to see more of agreements between AF and the municipalities. We see that there is a need for more actors around the long-term unemployed, ”says Nordmark.TT

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