Overall, the eurozone reported a 12 percent drop in output over the same period. Spain was down by a terrifying 18.5 percent, France by 13 percent, and Germany by 10 percent. The United States was down by 9.5 percent, and while we are still waiting for a figure from the UK, it is looking as if we may be down by 15 percent, towards the bottom end of the scale. Sweden has come through the worst three months of the last century of economic history in better shape than any of it major rivals.
The Swedish economy has always been robust of course. A highly skilled workforce, plenty of big successful companies, a thriving tech sector, and deregulated local markets, have meant that despite its generous welfare systems and relatively high taxes it has always been among the world’s more prosperous nations. But there is, of course, a little more to it than that. Alone among the world’s developed economies, Sweden didn’t go into full lockdown. There was plenty of social distancing, lots of lectures on washing your hands, and some restrictions on movement, but schools remained open and so did most businesses. It had the lightest touch of the major economies.