Long-term unemployed at 71% of jobless
morphed into the most devastating factor in the labour market. In the first quarter of this year just under 1 mln Greeks (958,700) were out of employment for more than a year. This represents over 71% of all those without work.
Extensive research has outlined the risks this phenomenon has for the labour market, which also poses a threat to the well-being of those affected by it.
A recent well-being survey by Gallup in the United States identified a number of social implications relating to longterm unemployment. For instance, the percentage of longterm unemployed treated for depression is almost twice as much as that of those unemployed for three to five weeks.
Also, less than 30% of those that have been out of employment for more than 52 weeks believe they will find new job opportunities, when the same figure for those unemployed for two to three months is above 60%. These discouraged workers risk falling out of the labour force altogether. It is no coincidence that the number of those Greeks available for employment but not looking for a job has almost doubled from less than 40,000 in 2008 to just under 100,000 in the first quarter of this year.
Almost a fifth of the near 4.8 mln workforce that is unemployed risks losing skills and employability to such an extent that even when the economy picks up again it could face a serious skills mismatch that will impede the recovery and the country’s growth potential.
Furthermore, in Greece’s case it is not just that part of the population is being essentially shut out of the jobs market; it is also that the social safety net is not wide enough to provide them with assistance. Medical coverage and unemployment benefits are lost after a year out of work, leaving the majority of jobless Greeks in particular difficulty.