Labour market polarisation as a localised process: evidence from Sweden

The present article creates a link between contemporary labour market polarisation and regional divergence and analyses the spatial patterns of labour market polarisation in Swedish municipalities during the period 2002–2012. The results show that the national pattern of labour market polarisation is driven by polarisation in clusters of previously manufacturing-dominated municipalities with low- and medium-skill production, as well as increasing labour market polarisation and spatial selection within the fast-growing top-tier metropolitan regions. Outside these polarising spaces, most municipalities still experience job upgrading. The much-discussed abandonment of the traditional Western European job-upgrading model towards a polarising trajectory is thus not unequivocal. Regional labour market change and metropolitan selection cause great variation in labour market trajectories across space.