In the second half of 2022, the number of Swedish businesses filing for bankruptcy increased by 22% over the same period in 2021. Entrepreneurial organization Företagarna.se has the story:
New statistics from the business- and credit-ranking company UC shows an increase in the number of bankruptcies as well as a decline in business start-ups. Compared to 2021 the number of bankruptcies increased by 5%last year. The increase was particularly strong the second half of the year, when 22% more businesses filed for bankruptcy.
Mr. Johan Grip, chief economist at Företagarna.se, is not surprised. The increase in bankruptcies, he explains,
should be considered in the context of us coming out of a two-year pandemic, and when the restrictions were finally lifted the energy crisis hit, and the [central bank’s] interest-rate policy shifted.
One of the major problems for businesses that survived the pandemic, Mr. Grip notes, is that many of them have had significant back taxes to catch up with. Combined with a decline in demand for their goods and services, this has put significant pressure on their finances.
In a comment on the bankruptcy numbers, UC economist Johanna Blomé points to a stark contrast between the first and second halves of 2022:
There are big market-based differences between the first few months of 2022 and the situation we are in today—something we see reflected directly in the UC statistics, with a growing number of bankruptcies and fewer new businesses being started.
She expressed concerns that this discrepancy could have broader economic repercussions. Adding the lack of targeted energy-cost support from government, Ms. Blomé points to the risk of a wave of employee layoffs.
The labor-intensive accommodations industry, which includes hotels and restaurants, suffered a 29% rise in bankruptcies in December alone. In the retail industry, also heavily dependent on labor, bankruptcy filings were up 28%.
In addition to rising business bankruptcies, Sweden also faces a household debt crisis.