A recent study by NHO Mat og Drikke, which represents the food and drink sector in Norway, has found that six out of 10 member companies expect high energy prices to affect employment negatively.
Petter Haas Brubakk, director general of NHO Mat og Drikke, stated, "This shows how serious the consequences of the cost crisis can be. It also shows how wrong it is for the government to use 'yesterday's' unemployment figures to justify why an acutely difficult situation is not sufficiently remedied, which will obviously become even more demanding in the future."
Around 16% of member companies that participated in the survey expect to carry out redundancies during the next quarter.
By comparison, the proportion is 10% for the entire Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).
Some 9% expect to have to make layoffs, the study noted.
Brubakk added, "The minister of trade and industry has for a long time used low unemployment figures as a reason for not creating a direct support scheme for companies. Navigating by the rear-view mirror can be punishing.
"The scheme that came in [16 September] has too low a ceiling on the total amount of support, which means that it is therefore hardly relevant for medium-sized and large companies. We therefore fear that the unemployment figures in the food and drink industry will worsen in the future."
The market situation among the members of NHO Mat og Drikke is the weakest of all national associations in the NHO, the survey showed.
Among industrial companies in NHO Mat og Drikke, more than 20% have experienced a worsening market situation.
Brubakk said that around half expect an even worse market condition than the present situation.
"Food supply is a critical societal function. It is worrying that medium-sized and large food and drink producers, who are hit hard by electricity costs, are in reality not covered by the electricity subsidy scheme," he noted.