Civil Unrest in Europe over Joblessness; Could Hit US

Posted on October 1, 2010


A UN report paints a grim picture of the future as economies in Europe, the US and elsewhere face a slow recovery.  Joblessness will be with us for a longer period than anticipated.

Global employment will not recover to pre-crisis levels until 2015 if current policies are pursued, creating social tension, the International Labour Organisation has warned.

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The extended loss of employment and growing perceptions of unfairness risked increasing social tension, the ILO said.

In 35 countries for which data exists, nearly 40 per cent of jobseekers have been without work for more than one year, running risks of demoralisation and mental health problems, and young people were disproportionately hit by unemployment.

It noted that social unrest related to the crisis has been reported in at least 25 countries, including some recovering emerging economies.

This week riot police were on the streets as protesters in Spain, Belgium, Italy and Greece demonstrated against tough austerity measures.

In more than three quarters of 82 countries with such information available, peoples’ perceptions of their quality of life and standard of living had declined in 2009 from 2006, with job satisfaction also declining even among those in work.

Torres warned governments against withdrawing fiscal stimulus measures while recovery was still weak.

The ILO recommended three policies for a jobs-led recovery:

* A combination of active labour market policies including work-sharing that target vulnerable groups such as young people, and training;

* A closer link between wages and productivity gains in surplus countries to boost demand and job creation;

* Reforms of the financial sector to ensure savings are channelled to productive investment. [Telegraph.co.uk]

The part of all of this that few discuss:  so many of the lost jobs at a decent salary will not be coming back. Fewer jobs at good pay mean less money to pay for the government programs just voted in which will frustrate expectation and increase the risk of unrest.

The immigration problems will have to be resolved to avoid conflict between illegal immigrants and residents trying to protect their jobs.