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Wednesday’s papers: Economic cooldown, the 48-hour work week and frugal Finns

The Finnish economy faces downward pressure while the country's frugal fashionistas shop in supermarkets.

Viikin Prisman myyjä Suvi Palmu kassalla.
Prisma supermarkets are the first destination for consumers looking to buy apparel, finds a new study by the Finnish Commerce Federation. Image: Tommi Pesonen / Yle

The party’s over, warns a financial column in national daily Helsingin Sanomat, suggesting that an economic downturn is on the horizon. The article notes that the construction boom is winding down, a classic gauge of economic health. Fresh figures released by Statistics Finland find that new construction permits dropped over 15 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries, growth in the sector will grind to a halt next year. Meanwhile Finnish banking group OP on Tuesday downgraded its 2018 growth forecast from 3.3 to 2.8 percent.

More flexible working hours

In the future, the Finnish Working Time Act could allow for 48-hour work weeks and 10-hours days, writes Helsingin Sanomat, as the government has sent its draft proposal on working hours off to lawmakers for review. Should the proposal pass into law, workers could be able to work off-site more flexibly, successive night shifts would be curbed from seven to five in a row, and employees could store up to 180 overtime hours in national 'time banks.'

Frugal Finns

Price continues to be the most important factor when it comes to Finns’ clothing purchase decisions, finds a study by the Finnish Commerce Federation cited in business daily Kauppalehti. Prisma supermarket chains are the number one choice for consumers looking to buy apparel. While Finns spent a percent more on updating their wardrobes in 2017 compared to the previous year, consumers in Finland still spend far less on fashion than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe. Top shopping destinations for Finnish women last year were Hennes & Mauritz, Prisma and K-Citymarket.

Better services for disabled travellers?

Finland is one of eight countries piloting an EU Disability Card, reports regional daily Turun Sanomat. The card, which is set to become available in early June, aims to help people with disabilities travel more easily between EU countries and ease access to services while abroad. The EU is developing a system of mutual recognition based on an EU Disability Card. Currently, there is no mutual recognition of disability status between EU member states.

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