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Need for 5,000 Foreign Workers

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Need for 5,000 Foreign Workers

Fosshótel Reykjavík

One of many hotels in Reykjavík.

Foreign workers will be needed to fill at least 5,000 positions in Iceland in the next four years, Vísir reports. This, according to the economic forecast of the analysis department at Arion Bank. According to Hrafn Steinarsson, specialist at the analysis department, there are signs already that the need for foreign labor has increased.

He points out that the increasing flow of tourists to the country requires more workers. Tourism-related sectors are experiencing much more growth than others. That, Hrafn believes, can cause tension in the labor market in coming years.

Anna Hrefna Ingimundardóttir, Hrafn’s coworker, comments, “Since 2012, we’ve been importing labor and given the situation, we expect that to continue.” She refers to polls revealing that when asked about plans for hiring in the coming six months, many more employers foresaw hiring additional workers in September than they did in May.

Anna Hrefna points out that more economic growth is expected now than it was in June. The analysis department at Arion Bank predicts economic growth of 5.4 percent this year, which would be the largest since 2007. Afer that, economic growth is expected to gradually decrease, and be only 2.5 percent in 2018.

The growth this year and next is believed to be mostly due to private consumption and investment. Industrial investment in hotels and silicon smelters plays a big role, as does the import of ships and planes. Anna hopes investment in apartments will start improving, but that kind of investment was slow the first half of the year.

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