Sweden’s “easy” way of dealing with the COVID19 epidemic seems to have won the country an easier way out of the unavoidable recession. The Economist predicts the Swedish economy lose some 2.3% this year. This is relatively more optimistic than the eurozone’s 5.9%, Denmark’s 4.4% or Norway’s 6%.
It is only fair to add that Sweden is faring so well not only thanks to letting the economy breathe in the past couple of month but because the country had maintained its economy in good and healthy shape in the first place.
Public debt amounting to 35% of GDP (2019) now leaves plenty of room for the government to help the economy. Sweden has recently announced a SEK 39 billion (EUR 4 billion) scheme to reimburse up to three-quarters of businesses’ fixed costs, based on lost turnover. That will rein in unemployment and promote recovery.
Swedish politics has also shown significant political consensus on the crisis policies designed by the country’s minority centre-left / centre-right / green coalition. The legendary public trust in the authorities translates into the public respecting the guidelines on social distancing. More than half of Swedish households are single occupants without children, which has largely prevented the spread even without a strict stay-at-home lockdown. This all is nearly to completely impossible to copy.
Sadly, Sweden “pays” for limiting the economic damage with a death toll of 320 per million inhabitants, higher than in Denmark (92), Finland (49), Norway (42) or Germany (92). The losses in Sweden are still far behind those in the most affected countries in Europe. Data: Johns Hopkins University, 12 May 2020.