Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 106

106 Arctic Yearbook 2014 Sweden. Labour demand in the forest industry, playing an important role there, has been reduced considerably due to technological improvements. The economic trends of outmigration of population from remote areas to cities and from north to south are also observed there. Despite these facts, the population in the north of Sweden has remained stable over decades. This has been achieved due to the location of educational and research centers there. The universities in the two largest cities, Umeå and Luleå, are not only major employers; they facilitate creating jobs in many other industries. The north of Sweden can be considered as a successful example of an Arctic economy based on a skilled labour force, attracting qualified workers from all over the world. Despite substantial distances between local labour markets, the level of earning is competitive across municipalities. This paper provides empirical analysis, which illustrates the equity of labour possibilities even for vulnerable groups of society. The analysis is based on two northern counties, Västerbotten and Norrbotten, and focuses on earnings development of women with children recently immigrated to Sweden and their involvement in the labour market. Sweden is a country of high immigration of labour immigrants from Nordic countries and EU15 countries, and of refugees from Asia and Africa, the share of which has been growing in recent years (Schröder, 2007). A total of 10% of the women living there have a foreign background, and this proportion reaches 40% along the border with Finland (SCB 2010). Female immigrants – who mostly come from Finland, Norway, Poland, Thailand, Iran, and the former Soviet Union – vary greatly in their cultural and family values, education, and job experiences. Sweden is known for its remarkable integration policies that enable positive social and economic outcomes for immigrants (Bevelander & Pendakur 2012). However, in the past few decades immigrant integration in Sweden has not been as efficient as in the past (Bengtsson & Scott 2011). First-generation immigrants have higher unemployment rates and lower earnings compared to natives, but these differences diminish in second-generation immigrants (Scott 1999). The purpose of this paper is to study labour market outcomes, especially earnings and labour force participation (LFP), of first-generation immigrant women in comparison with Swedish-born women in Västerbotten and Norrbotten. Differences in earnings and LFP can be related to the geographical distribution of the workers and to local labour market conditions. The local labour markets in the counties have been characterized by a relative growth of female employment in cities and a considerable decline in employment opportunities in remote areas (Keskitalo et al. 2013). However, it is hypothesized that ethnic determinants, including individual characteristics such as years since migration (YSM), age, education, civil status, and the presence of children, prevail in local labour markets. On the base of previous stu Y\