Well, if today’s Fréttablaðið is to be believed, Nicelandic companies currently have almost as many people on their payrolls abroad as the sum total of all people on the labour market here. More precisely, it means there are 170,000 workers on the Icelandic labour market, and 163,000 on Nicelandic payrolls abroad.
Kind of crazy, innit? Like an entire separate labour market being run in other countries, with foreign peoples. What’s next, I ask you? Colonization?
By far the largest employer overseas is Baugur [no surprises there] which employs around 67,000 people around the world. In addition to owning most of Iceland, including Fréttablaðið [natch], they own major stakes in about half of the UK high street retailers and supermarkets, have major assets in Denmark, and are now moving with great stealth into the US, having just bought a large-ish share in Saks Fifth Avenue.
Next comes Bakkavör, which is big in the prepared-foods sector in the UK [i.e. preparing all those Marks and Sparks meals], with 20,000 people on its payroll. Then Eimskip [shipping] with 14,000, Actavis [pharmaceuticals] with 11,000, Nordic Partners [who?] with 7-8000, Promens [?] with 5,400, Icelandic Group [seafood] with 4,600, Alfresca [?] with 3,400, Kaupthing [bank] with 2,500 and Glitnir [bank] with 1,000.
Meanwhile, the Spegillinn radio news programme ran an interview with our Prez Ólafur Ragnar last night, who had just met with the Prez of China. Icelandic scientists have worked a fair bit in China of late, helping the Chinese set up geothermal energy stations, and apparently a major deal is close to being clinched in that area as China wants to introduce green energy into a number of its major cities, to replace coal. If this deal becomes a reality it will provide a huge injection into the economy, or in the words of the Ólafur Ragner, “Even if we did nothing else, it would be enough.” Which is excellent news; I take it to mean the rest of us need no longer work and can just veg out on the couch eating cream puffs and watching American soap operas like ER while our scientists erect geothermal power plants in faraway places named Xinquandu or Caitonexeu or similar.
Anyway, now that we know size doesn’t matter, here comes the weather: It’s decidedly fall-like out there now, the leaves have all turned yellow and red, it’s blustery at the moment and damp. The kind of weather that calls for kjötsúpa [Icelandic lamb soup] for dinner, which is just what we’ll be having. We currently have 9°C [48F]. The sun rose this morning at 7:41 and is due to set at 6:51 pm.
PS. It may interest you to know that the 150,000th visitor to this site logged on at 10.17 this morning; they were from Reykjavík and came through on this image, which I linked to sometime in the distant past. Consequently they don’t win a prize because obviously it was just a fluke.