The number of full-year persons receiving economic support in the form of social assistance or benefits in 2011 decreased by 7.3 percent compared to the year before. The decrease has especially occurred among those receiving unemployment benefits and sickness or activity compensation. However, the number of people with sickness benefits has increased after eight years of decreases.
Statistics Sweden annually reports statistics on the number of full-year persons aged 20-64 who receive economic support in the form of social assistance or benefits, such as sickness benefits, sickness or activity compensation (formerly early retirement), unemployment benefits and economic aid.
Every benefit system is measured in full-year persons, or full-year equivalents. This allows for comparability between the different types of benefits. The term full-year equivalent refers to the number of individuals who can be supported during an entire year on full benefits. For example, two persons who both have been unemployed full-time for six months amount to one full-year equivalent.
Development of the number of full-year equivalents aged 20-64 who are supported by social assistance or benefits*, 1990-2011*)
Sickness benefit, sickness or activity compensation, unemployment benefit, labour market programme and economic aid.
The total number of full-year equivalents in 2011 decreased by 7.3 percent compared to 2010. The decrease has especially occurred among those receiving unemployment benefits, -24.6 percent, and sickness or activity compensation, -10.9 percent. However, the number of people with sickness benefits has increased by 13.8 percent after eight years with decreases.
The share of full-year equivalents in the working population (aged 20-64) was 14.8 percent in 1990. In 1994, this share peaked at 22.7 percent. In 2011, the share of full-year equivalents in the working population was 14.4 percent, which is the lowest share that has ever been measured.
Monthly data up until May 2012 are available for all forms of benefits except economic aid. During the first half of 2012, the number of full-year equivalents receiving sickness or activity compensation continued to drop, while the number in the three other forms of benefits increased. Viewed on the whole, it looks like the number of full-year equivalents will increase slowly during 2012.