Employers’ association: Post-election focus needs to be jobs, jobs, jobs

Thousands of private jobs have been lost since 2008 and getting them back should be a top priority for the local councils after the elections, says national employers’ association

The number of private jobs in local councils has fallen dramatically in the last four years according to statistics from the national employers' association Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening (DA).

Every fifth job has been lost between 2008 and 2012 and only seven of the 98 councils have seen a positive development in the same period.

According to DA's deputy director, Erik Simonsen, creating jobs should be the top priority when the newly-constituted council boards take over after the local elections on Tuesday. 

"All councils should make creating jobs the number one priority on their agenda,” Simonsen told Berlingske newspaper. “Our survey shows that some councils do better than others when it comes to encouraging business. A way to make improvements is to ensure flexible and unbureaucratic local service." 

Need new strategies
At the bottom of the list is Kerteminde Council, which went from having 8,181 private jobs in 2008 to 4,627 in 2012, a decline of 43.4 percent. Faring much better was Billund Council, with a 8.1 percent rise, as it went from 10,630 to 11,488 jobs.

The mayor of Skive, Flemming Eskildsen (V), said his council – which saw the number of jobs fall 24.7 percent – has been feeling the effects of the severe job loss for years. Eskildsen said the council has long been trying to develop a new strategy to deal with the decline of local businesses, especially in the local furniture industry that once used to drive the local economy.

"We have focused a lot on helping local businesses and we are ready with plans for how new corporations can establish themselves on the market," he told Berlingske. "We are going to win back the 3,000 work places we lost, but we also have to realise that our old furniture mecca is gone and that we have to focus on something else.”

But there are limits to what the individual councils can do to solve the problem, says Simonsen of DA, who sees a need to strengthen partnerships between councils.

"There are too many areas in Denmark where the council is too small compared to the job market it represents. Improved co-operation between the councils could ensure a more appropriate match between mobility among workers and businesses," he said.