Norway's Job Vacancies Increase to Highest This Decade

(Bloomberg) -- The number of vacant jobs in Norway rose to the highest in at least a decade, underscoring the strength of momentum in the oil-rich economy after the central bank flagged another interest rate increase will come again in June.

The number of vacancies, seasonally adjusted, rose to 71,800 in the first quarter, Statistics Norway said on Thursday. That beat a previous peak from 2011, before an oil price crash sent the economy of Western Europe’s largest producer of oil and gas through the worst crisis in its petroleum industry in a generation.

Norway's Job Vacancies Increase to Highest This Decade

Since then, the economy has recovered amid higher oil prices and a return of investments in the petroleum sector. The number of vacancies in the oil and gas sector is now on par with the level seen before the oil price drop in 2014, the statistics agency said.

Registered unemployment, the central bank’s preferred gauge of the labor market, has now dropped to 2.3%. The central bank started to raise rates in September, for the first time in seven years and said earlier this month that rates will “most likely” be raised again in June.

Read more: Norway boost oil cash spending

“This underpins that labor market is becoming really tight,” said Kristoffer Kjaer Lomholt, a senior analyst at Danske Bank. And with the government stepping up oil spending this year, a June hike increasingly seems like a done deal, he said.

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