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The blight of unemployment

Two pieces on unemployment - one relating to the USA and the other to Europe - paint a grim picture of the world we now live in, and how "life" generally - leaving politics and isms aside - has changed and will do so in the future.

 The USA:

"Even at so-called full employment, some 20 million Americans are left behind.

They’re looking for work, out of the labor force but unhappy about it, or report working part-time when they’d prefer more hours, according to data released last week. Their plight comes even as the U.S. flirts with what economists consider the maximum level of employment for the first time since before the recession, having added 15.8 million jobs since the start of 2010. While some of America’s jobless are simply between gigs, those persistently stuck out of work are called the structurally unemployed.


President Donald Trump said wrongly last month that 96 million people are looking for work, having included Americans who are still in school, retired, or just uninterested. Yet his words resonated in a country where economic insecurity is distributed unequally and cruelly—far deeper in Mingo, W. Va., than in midtown Manhattan.

Because of where the structurally unemployed live, what they’ve done, or the skills they lack, employers can’t or won’t hire them. The problems that keep today's jobless stuck on the sidelines are different than those of past recoveries: a complex web of often interrelated issues from disability and drug use to criminal records."


Europe:

"While the region’s economy is finally recovering, more than half of all new jobs created in the European Union since 2010 have been through temporary contracts. This is the legacy of a painful financial crisis that has left employers wary of hiring permanent workers in a tenuous economy where growth is still weak. Under European labor laws, permanent workers are usually more difficult to lay off and require more costly benefit packages, making temporary contracts appealing for all manner of industries, from low-wage warehouse workers to professional white-collar jobs.

For those stuck in this employment netherworld, life is a cycle of constant job searches. Confidence can give way to doubt as career prospects seem to fade. Young people talk of delaying marriage and families indefinitely. And though many were grateful for any workplace experience, they were also cynical about companies that treated them like disposable labor."


 

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