Danish Companies Seek to Hire, but Everyone’s Already Working

“We need more skilled workers, but we can’t get them,” said Mr. Enevoldsen, who recently joined other companies in a nationwide advertising campaign to lure talent. “If the labor shortage continues, it could sharply impact our growth, and growth in general.”


Peter Enevoldsen, the chief financial officer at Sjørring Maskinfabrik, said, “If the labor shortage continues, it could sharply impact our growth, and growth in general.”

Tor Birk Trads for The New York Times

Europe’s recovery is gaining traction fastest in the north, where Britain, Germany and Denmark’s Nordic neighbors also pushing toward full employment. The unemployment rate has fallen in the United States as well, and some economists have expressed optimism the country may be headed in that direction.

But the experience in Denmark shows what can happen with too much of a good thing.

This country of just under six million people produces a diverse range of goods, from drugs to industrial machinery. To bolster its tech sector, the government recently named a “technology ambassador” to conduct relations with Google and other digital giants.

After a painful recession, unemployment is now at 4.3 percent, which is about as low as it can go without provoking inflation. During an economic boom a decade ago, joblessness fell as low as 2.4 percent, igniting an unsustainable spiral of higher wages and prices that the government desperately wants to avoid today.

Growth is still relatively modest — the economy expanded an annualized 1.2 percent last year despite the hiring frenzy. But in many sectors, the demand for workers has risen so fast that economists are warning that the recovery may hit a wall.

“It’s hard to see higher growth because we don’t have the labor needed for that,” said Steen…

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