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Sweden Travel Guide
Economy of Sweden

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Sweden is an export-oriented market economy featuring a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Sweden's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 2 percent of GDP and employment.

The 20 largest (by turnover in 2007) companies registered in Sweden are Volvo, Ericsson, Vattenfall, Skanska, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget, Electrolux, Volvo Personvagnar, TeliaSonera, Sandvik, Scania, ICA, Hennes & Mauritz, Nordea, Preem, Atlas Copco, Securitas, Nordstjernan, and SKF. Sweden's industry is overwhelmingly in private control; unlike some other industrialized Western countries, such as Austria and Italy, publicly owned enterprises were always of minor importance.

Some 4.5 million residents are working, out of which around a third with tertiary education. GDP per hour worked is the world's 9th highest at 31 USD in 2006, compared to 22 USD in Spain and 35 USD in United States. According to OECD, deregulation, globalization, and technology sector growth have been key productivity drivers. GDP per hour worked is growing 2½ per cent a year for the economy as a whole and trade-terms-balanced productivity growth 2%. Sweden is a world leader in privatized pensions and pension funding problems are relatively small compared to many other Western European countries. The Swedish labor market has become more flexible, but it still has some widely acknowledged problems. The typical worker receives 40% of his income after the tax wedge. The slowly declining overall taxation, 51.1% of GDP in 2007, is still nearly double of that in the United States or Ireland. State and municipal bureaucrats amount to a third of Swedish workforce, multiple times the proportion in many other countries. Overall, GDP growth has been fast since reforms in the early 1990s, especially in manufacturing.

The World Economic Forum 2008 competitiveness index ranks Sweden 4th most competitive, behind Denmark. The Index of Economic Freedom 2008 ranks Sweden the 27th most free out of 162 countries, or 14th out of 41 European countries, Sweden ranked 9th in the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook 2008, scoring high in private sector efficiency. According to the book, The Flight of the Creative Class, by the U.S. economist, Professor Richard Florida of the University of Toronto, Sweden is ranked as having the best creativity in Europe for business and is predicted to become a talent magnet for the world’s most purposeful workers. The book compiled an index to measure the kind of creativity it claims is most useful to business — talent, technology and tolerance.

Swedes have rejected the euro in a popular vote and Sweden maintains its own currency, the Swedish krona (SEK). The Swedish Riksbank — founded in 1668 and thus making it the oldest central bank in the world — is currently focusing on price stability with its inflation target of 2%. According to the Economic Survey of Sweden 2007 by the OECD, the average inflation in Sweden has been one of the lowest among European countries since the mid-1990s, largely because of deregulation and quick utilization of globalization.

The largest trade flows are with Germany, the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Finland.

A September 29, 2008 editorial in the Wall St. Journal quoted Jan Björklund, leader of Sweden's Liberal Party, as saying, "The corporate tax is one of the taxes which large companies really study when they plan to set up business somewhere." The editorial goes on to say, "The corporate tax reduction will bring the Swedish rate down to 26.3% from 28%, continuing its fall from a high of 57% in 1987... entrepreneurship had become such an alien concept that more than half of Sweden's 50 largest companies were founded before World War I and only two after 1970—the period when taxes and social welfare programs proliferated... Three years ago Sweden eliminated its inheritance tax."

Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia

 





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