Businesses in northern Sweden pessimistic, but still rosier than in rest of country

Regional economic attitudes bordering on "very weak" are buoyed only by sustainable-energy investments

By Arctic Business Journal - November 10, 2023
Projects such as the Nortvolt Ett plant — shown under construction and due to begin production in 2024 — remain a source of optimism for Norrland (📸 Northvolt)

Local confidence about the state of the economy in Sweden’s northernmost Norrland region continues to decline and now borders on “very weak” — though, for the fifth quarter running, it remains more upbeat than in Sweden as a whole — according to figures published Wednesday by Norrlandsfonden, a foundation that invests in development in northern Sweden.

Confidence levels in both Norrland and Sweden as a whole have declined since early 2021. Nationally, business confidence is comparable to levels recorded in early 2020 — at the start of the pandemic — and during the 2008 financial crisis, according to Niklas Jonsson, the foundation’s managing director.

Norrlandsfonden’s assessment applies in all five of the counties that make up the region.

Norrland’s construction industry and its service sector as a whole remain still more positive than their national counterparts, while its manufacturing firms continues to lag behind national trends.

Regional economic confidence in Norrland has never exceeded national levels for so long, according Mr Jonsson.

One explanation for the greater optimism can be found in current and projected investments in renewable-energy projects. Similarly, the region’s economy tends to be less dependent on consumers, who have been hard hit by recent interest-rate increases.

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