(Updates with comment from economist in fourth paragraph.)
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Norway’s unemployment rate held at the highest in six months as Europe’s debt crisis weighed on demand and hiring.
Unemployment in the world’s second-richest nation per capita held at 3.4 percent after being revised up in October, Statistics Norway said today. The number of employed grew 1.7 percent to 2.56 million from a year earlier, after rising 1.8 percent in October.
The country’s central bank in December cut its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 1.75 percent to shield the world’s seventh-largest oil exporter from the fallout of Europe’s debt crisis. The nation sends more than 60 percent of its exports to the region.
“Manufacturing export industries have to hire fewer people,” Erik Bruce, senior economist at Nordea Bank AB, said by phone. “A lot of firms are holding back on new hiring, some might reduce some employment.”
Companies such as Renewable Energy Corp. ASA, Europe’s largest producer of solar wafers, as well as Norske Skogindustrier ASA, the world’s second-largest maker of newsprint, have announced jobs cuts amid waning demand and falling prices for their goods.
Still, a survey of purchasing managers released today showed manufacturing grew in January after shrinking for two straight months as orders rose.
--Editors: Jonas Bergman, Tasneem Brogger
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