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Major branches of Industry


Forest industry

The Swedish forest industry has played an important part in the Swedish economy since the middle of the 19th century. It has over the years become mainly export-oriented and accounted for almost half of Swedish exports during the 1950s.

The Swedish sawmill industry is still the largest in Europe and accounts for about 10% of the world's exports. In the pulp and paper industries, Sweden was the third largest exporter in the world in the early 90s.

The Swedish forestry is the main supplier to the forest industry. Imports of raw materials are insignificant in this industry. Forests cover a large part of Sweden and the Swedish forestry is considered very modern and it operates with long-term ecological objectives.

Iron and Steel

This is a traditional Swedish industry and Sweden was the largest exporter of iron products in Europe for over two hundred years. Its importance has however diminished in recent years.

The mining industry is dominated by the LKAB company and 90% of its production is exported, mainly to the German steel industry. The exports of iron ore have decreased since the mid 1970s but Sweden is still among the top ten exporters in the world.

The steel industry is also exporting most of its production. Swedish steel producers have concentrated on quality and more than half of the sales value consists of the more expensive special steel used for precision tools and ball bearings, etc.


The engineering industry is the largest manufacturing industry in Sweden. The industry has a very high technological level. Swedish engineering companies like SKF, ABB and Ericsson and inventions like the ball bearing have given Sweden a good worldwide reputation in this sector.

The car and airplane industries are also significant. Volvo and SAAB are well-known companies in these fields and produce both cars and trucks under various brand names. SAAB is also a producer of commercial and military airplanes.

Many traditional Swedish mechanical manufacturing companies have diversified into the electronics industry, which has grown rapidly. Sweden has one of the most automatized manufacturing industries in the world, and Sweden's ABB is the largest producer of industrial robots in Europe. Ericsson is a very successful company in telecommunications and sell digital exchanges and cellular phone systems to markets all over the world.

The Service Industry

The service sector is by far the largest in the Swedish economy in terms of employment. It consists not only of traditional services like financial, educational and medical but also of an increasing service part in production industries. Large parts of the Swedish service industry belong to the public sector, for instance are almost all hospitals, schools and child care centers owned by the State. A privatization process has started in this sector and former monopolies like Posten (mail services), Telia (telecommunications) and SJ (railway transports) have been or are in the process of being introduced on the stock market.

The Chemical Industry

Chemical products have been manufactured in Sweden for over a hundred years. The Swedish chemical industry was in the beginning mainly producing matches and explosives, while paint and plastics have grown to become a large share of chemical production after World War II. The medical part, dominated by Astra and Pharmacia & Upjohn, is the most reSearch (in Swedish) intensive of all industries and its products have been very successful during the last decades.

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