Every third Swede better than his job
One out of three Swedes believes he or she is better than his or her job. According to this new job poll, 34 percent said they were overqualified for the jobs they did. Says Cecilia Mannheimer, district manager at the recruitment company Randstad, which presented the poll: “I think the crisis and the increased unemployment have made many feel they’ve had to compromise with their competence.” But 34 percent isn't actually a high number. Compare it, for instance, with China, where 84 percent believe they are better than their jobs. Career expert and author Charlotte Hågård believes more than 34 percent of Swedes believe they are better than their jobs: “It’s like that with all jobs,” she says. “Sooner or later you feel you know your job. You have to always have some kind of challenge, or you will soon feel like you’re not stimulated enough.” Hågård thinks other reasons Swedes feel the way they do might be because they’ve had the wrong expectations or they’ve been forced to apply for a job that’s beneath their competence. Hågård’s tip is to make a list of your work assignments, mark what you think is fun and boring, and think about how many hours a week you put into the different assignments. She says, “Then you can have a constructive discussion with your boss and tell him or her what you’d rather spend more time doing, and in what ways that would benefit your company.”

Increase in Swedish tourism
Tourists seem to care very little about the recession. Amidst the euro crisis and cut-downs, more and more people travel abroad. Though the most popular regions to travel to are Asia and Africa, Sweden too has a strong pull on tourists. Tourists spent 25 percent more money in Sweden during the period of January through August this year as compared to last, which puts Sweden on the absolute top when it comes to tourism. Only in Japan do tourists spend more. “This is good news,” says Bitte Olsson, communication officer at Visit Sweden. Last year, tourists from abroad consumed goods and services in Sweden at a value of 98.8 billion SEK ($147,625,411,890). That’s an increase of almost 10 percent over 2010.

More and more eat out
The trend to eat out in Sweden shows no signs of decreasing. New numbers from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Sweden Statistics) show that the restaurant business is going up, though the real winners are the cafés. Restaurant sales increased 3.3 percent during September this year as compared to September 2011. However, cafés increased their business 10.4 percent, and hotel restaurants increased their sales by 5.7 percent. Independent restaurants, though, didn’t do well: Their sales went down 17.1 percent. Service production fell 0.2 percent this September (as compared to the same time last year); and the worst was the motor trade, which fell by 4.7 percent.

Increasing immigration
Migrationsverket (the Swedish Migration Board) will present their 2013 prognosis regarding asylum seekers in Sweden, and previous reports indicate the number of asylum seekers in 2013 will be the highest since the war in the Balkans in the 1990s. The ongoing war in Syria is one of the greatest factors behind the increasing immigration, as is the continuous violence in Afghanistan. Though Migrationsverket doesn’t give an exact number, they say it’s the highest in 20 years. “We don’t want to say anything before the report is out,” says Sara Sundelius, press officer at Migrationsverket. “But it is an increase in asylum seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia.” In 1992, amidst the burning Balkan wars, more than 80,000 people sought asylum in Sweden, a number that hasn’t been even half as high since. According to information from Migrationsverket, 33,000 people have sought asylum in Sweden this year so far. Almost 4500 of them come from Syria.

H&M denies slave labor
The Swedish fashion giant H&M has been accused of paying slave wages but is now denying those accusations. Says H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson to daily Expressen: “It’s completely incorrect,” about the rumors that people work for slave-like wages at a subcontractor’s factory in Cambodia. Persson spoke out because a documentary is to be broadcast on Swedish television showing the Cambodian factory workers making so little money they have to borrow more in order to buy food. According to the documentary, the workers are paid 500 SEK ($75) a month for a 70-hour-long workweek. Channel TV4 was invited by H&M to Cambodia, where they met with striking textile workers asking for higher salaries. And according to Swedish media, the documentary gives the impression that H&M opposed the demands—claims that are now refuted by chief executive Persson. “We teach workers how to negotiate their salaries with employers,” he said. “We want all workers to be paid more and that’s why we pressure politicians to raise the minimum salary to a living wage. That makes it possible for us to follow up (the issue) during factory inspections.”

weden Democrats growing
The controversial Sweden Democrats party is growing. In the DN/Ipsos latest poll for October, the party turns out to be the third largest in the country, increasing 2.7 percent from 5.8 percent to 8.6 percent in support from prospective voters. And it seems most of these new supporters are men. Says Johanna Laurin Gulled, opinion analyst at Ipsos: “The greatest increase comes from men. And if you look geographically, it is greater in mid-size cities and smaller municipalities. We see no increase in support for the Sweden Democrats in the bigger cities.” Gulled continues to explain that most of these men come from the Moderate Party. “It’s primarily those who voted for the Moderates in the last election who now feel they can vote for the Sweden Democrats,” she says. “We see no other flows (from party to party) anywhere else. Perhaps they feel it is OK to vote for the Sweden Democrats now.” The poll comes on the heels of information from the Sweden Democrats that they are going to re-organize their party. The DN/Ipsos poll further shows that the opposition has 48.3 percent support, compared to the alliance’s 42.7 percent.