Long-term un­em­ployed at 71% of job­less

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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