Employment reaches record levels

As company payrolls continue to swell, the number of people working is at its all-time high

The number of full-time jobs in Denmark has ballooned to a record of nearly three million, thanks to a booming economy. An extra 50,000 jobs have been added to the pool in the past year, according to the latest figures from national statistics bureau Statistics Denmark.

Over the past two years, some 70,000 positions have been created, which has economists looking back to the heady days of the 1990s IT boom to find similar growth rates.

'We've never had more people working in Denmark,' Jes Asmussen of Handelsbanken told Berlingkse Tidende newspaper.

With the exception of the public sector and industry, all sectors of the economy reported creating more jobs in the last year.

The latest figures show the equivalent of 2,275,000 full-time positions in Denmark. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed, 123,000, is the lowest in 30 years.

As the number of people working has continued to grow, economists have been warning that a shortage of workers could lead to bottlenecks and an economic slowdown. But the recent figures show that unemployment fell less than the increase in the number of employed. Economists had expected the size of the workforce to shrink by 10,000 last year, not increase by 20,000.

'More people are looking for jobs and the workforce is growing,' said a surprised Jan Kæraa Rasmussen of LO, the national confederation of trade unions.

Rasmussen said the growth was due to more people moving off public benefits and an influx of foreign workers.

In addition to adding more jobs to the economy, the current boom is also keeping those with jobs on the clock longer.

Danes still work nearly 100 hours less per year than the European average of 1700, but they are catching up. That hard work was helping to keep the effects of a labour shortage at bay.

'The increase in working hours reduces the problems related to a shortage of workers, as each worker contributes more,' said Steen Bocian, lead analyst for Danske Bank, the nation's largest financial institution.

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