STOCKHOLM -- Sweden's center-right government said it plans to provide more than $7 billion in 2010 to bolster the economy against global financial strife.
The government also put in place $1 billion in measures for 2009 to target Sweden's slackening labor market as it nears the conclusion of its four-year term, which began in 2006.
After saying two weeks ago that funding for further stimulus was "extremely limited," Finance Minister Anders Borg said Wednesday in his 2009 budget-amendment bill that he has found 60 billion Swedish kronor ($7.3 billion) -- almost 2% of gross domestic product, according to analyst estimates -- for additional spending in 2010 "to combat the crisis." The extra funds follow a total stimulus package of 45 billion kronor for this year.
Mr. Borg's labor-market plan included 10 billion kronor this year for more employment-market initiatives, including grants for internships, more job training programs, and extended unemployment insurance. He said the government will spend a total of 50 billion kronor to boost Sweden's struggling labor market over "the next few years."
On April 1, the government cut its economic and public-finance forecasts, predicting that Sweden's GDP will drop 4.2% this year while unemployment surges and the state budget swings deeply into the red, from a healthy surplus last year.
In the two weeks since then, the government has revealed a host of spending initiatives, with Wednesday's extensive outlays coming on top of an announcement last week that the state will give 17 billion kronor in aid to the country's local governments from 2010 to 2012.
Some economists were caught off guard. "Somewhat surprisingly, the government spring budget included a large increase in the labor-market policy programs," said economists at Swedish bank SEB.
Bengt Roström, an economist with Nordea, called the employment programs "powerful." Some economists expect Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mr. Borg to offer more stimulus funds as the global economic downturn continues to disturb Sweden's small, open economy.