Sweden Economy

Sweden Economy

According to Youremailverifier, Sweden is one of the countries with the highest standard of living. The differences in income are small, and public services are extensive. State intervention in the economy, high taxes and social security for all have ensured an even distribution of wealth. After the economic crises in the 1990s and 2000s, however, the financial burdens on companies and citizens were reduced and social benefits were cut.

The economy is based on natural resources such as forest, water, iron ore (Kiruna, Gällivare) and other metal ores. However, mining and metal processing have lost their importance. Iron and steel production is now concentrated in just two modern plants. The forestry with the wood processing and paper production, the machine and vehicle construction as well as the electrical and electronic industry are the most important branches of the economy. Most of the products are exported. The most important trading partner is Germany.

Services account for three quarters of the national economic output. A third of the workforce works in the public sector, which runs many social, educational and health services. Tourists mainly come to the archipelago, the islands of Gotland and Öland, the central Swedish lakes with the Göta Canal (built 1810–32) and the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Sweden has a well-developed road and rail network, which is getting thinner towards the north and inland. One of the most famous railway lines is the Lapland Railway, built between 1884 and 1902, between the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean (Norway). It is mainly used to transport ore.


With a gross national income (GNI) per resident of (2017) US $ 52,590, Sweden is one of the countries with the highest material prosperity. It ranks 14th out of 195 countries in the Human Development Index. A recession began in Sweden in early 1990, the worst since the 1930s, which was not overcome until 1994. This slump led to welfare state reforms.

For decades, the Swedish model (“Volksheim”) was characterized by the combination of a principally market economy system with interventions by the state in economic processes that were above average compared to other western industrialized countries. The citizens should be materially equal as possible. The realization of these goals serves among other things. a comprehensive system of social security (social insurance, social infrastructure), an economic policy that is based on co-determination, investment management and full employment, and taxation that imposes high tax rates on even relatively low incomes. It is true that a high per capita income and a high standard of public services could be achieved with low unemployment, however, the limits of the welfare state have been reached due to the high tax and duty burden. The turnaround came on the one hand through hard cuts in the social network, which were mutually supported by the social partners. On the other hand, the weight of the public sector has been reduced without giving up the Swedish model in principle. The relief of the citizens with the taxes contributed to an increase in consumption, but was bought at the cost of a temporary increase in the national debt ratio. From 2002 to 2008 the Swedish state recorded budget surpluses, so that the deficit could be reduced from (1995) 73.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 38.2%. After slight deficits in the following years, the national debt rose again to (2016) 41.6% of GDP.

Overall, the economy has developed positively over the long term since the mid-1990s thanks to growing exports (EU accession in 1995) and increasing domestic demand. Only the international economic and financial crisis led Sweden’s export-dependent economy into a crisis in 2008 and 2009. GDP fell for two years in a row (–0.5% and –5.3%), the national budget slipped into the red and unemployment rose to 8.4%. In 2010 a clear recovery process started again (GDP increase 5.5%; 2011: 3.9%; 2016: 3.3%). The unemployment rate for 2016 is given as 6.9%, albeit with a youth unemployment rate of around 15.8%.

Foreign trade: The Swedish trade balance has been almost balanced for years (import value 2016: € 127.1 billion; export value: € 126.0 billion). The main export products are machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum, paper products, and electrical and electronic products. The most important trading partner is Germany, from where Sweden gets 18.8% of its imports and where it delivers 10.2% of its exports. Sweden is fully integrated into the EU’s economic structure, which is based on the division of labor; The EU countries account for 73.4% of imports and 63.2% of deliveries.

Natural resources

Mining has a long tradition in Sweden due to the abundance of natural resources. The most important iron ore deposits are in Bergslagen (mining stopped here) and in the far north (mining locations: mainly Kiruna, Gällivare). Most of the iron ore in northern Sweden is exported, mainly via the Norwegian port of Narvik, the rest via Luleå. Sulphidic non-ferrous metal ores in particular are mined in the Skelleftefeld. Sweden also has large stocks of alum shale, which contain vanadium and uranium, and in Västergötland about the largest known uranium ore deposits in Europe. The economic importance of mining is low: In 2015, its share in GDP (including processing) was less than 1%. Less than 10,000 people are employed in this branch. In 2015, 29.9 million t of iron ore, along with copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold ore, were mined.

Sweden Economy