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Work unemploymentopt

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Work unemploymentopt

Work unemploymentopt

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  • 1. Unemployment and social polarization
  • 2. Introduction
    • The post-war economic boom brought about nearly full employment across most of Western Europe
    • However the oil crisis, socio-economic restructuring, and globalization have provoked a radical change in the panorama
      • Greater participation of women in the labour market...
      • But a significant rise in the levels of structural unemployment
    • In the 1990s measures have been adopted to flexibilize labour markets:
      • Unemployment has decreased...
      • But social polarization has increased
  • 3. The process of socio-economic restructuring
    • Collapse of the (Fordist) system of mass production
      • Demise of the three pillars of the post-war consensus: full employment, prosperity, and social citizenship
    • Rise in unemployment levels
      • From unemployment rates below 5% (bar Ireland and Italy), before 1975
      • To 23% in Spain, 20% in Finland, and Ireland
      • By the mid-1990s the main economies in the EU (bar the UK) had unemployment rates in excess of 10%
    • Unemployment rates as a European phenomenon:
      • Much lower unemployment rates in the US and Japan
  • 4. Unemployment
  • 5. Unemployment (II)
    • Regional unemployment differences are even greater:
      • Unemployment in excess of 20% in Southern Italy, Southern and Western Spain, and the former East Germany
      • High rates in many old industrial regions of Northern France, Belgium, and West Germany
      • Low unemployment in the peripheries of large urban regions...
      • And in many intermediate regions
  • 6.  
  • 7. The problems of structural unemployment
    • Having a large percentage of the population willing to work idle represents a waste for any economy
      • Especially since often the unemployed tend to be younger and better prepared than those employed
    • Social exclusion
      • Large sections of the population are excluded from the labour force
      • Increase in long-term unemployment rates
    • Serious financial problems for the state
      • Expansion of unemployment benefits
      • Unemployment benefits disguised as other benefits in certain countries (Italy and the Netherlands)
  • 8. Long-term unemployment
    • Long-term unemployment is positively linked to total unemployment
      • Highest long-term unemployment in the poorest regions of Spain, Greece, and the South of Italy...
      • But also in West Germany and Belgium
      • Lowest long-term unemployment in the UK and Scandinavia
    • And negatively linked to total employment levels
  • 9.  
  • 10. Unemployment in social expenditure
  • 11. Measures to combat high unemployment
    • Main aim: to make European labour markets more flexible
    • Meaning of flexibility: making employees more disposable:
      • Easier and cheaper to dismiss
      • Less covered by constraining agreements and regulations over conditions
      • Less health, safety, and security offered to workers
    • Two interpretations of flexibility:
      • Outright labour market deregulation: In the UK
      • The reform of labour market laws and of the welfare state: Netherlands, followed by Continental Europe
        • Combination of restrictive measures with greater worker training
  • 12. The impact of labour market reform
    • Reduction of unemployment
      • Britain and the Netherlands (the early adopters) have enjoyed lower unemployment rates
      • Spectacular effect in Spain. Between the introduction of labour market flexibility in 1996/97 and 2000, Spain has created half of all the new jobs in the EU. Unemployment came down from 22 to 14%
      • Reduction of unemployment in Germany and France
      • Reduction even in the countries more reluctant to introduce flexibility measures: Belgium and Italy
    • But the timing of the reforms has coincided with a period of economic expansion
      • And in the past economic growth has been associated with job creation
  • 13. The informal economy Source: Schneider (2001)
  • 14. The impact of labour market reform (ii)
    • The concentration of atypical employment forms among women, the young, the elderly, ethnic minorities, and immigrants and the less skilled is contributing to the segmentation of society:
      • The ‘A-team’: Highly qualified stable wage-earners
      • The ‘B-team’: An underclass of unstable and precarious workers (MacJobs)
    • According to some (Harvey, 2000) this represents a return to the period prior to the mid-century compromise
      • ‘ Proletarianization’ of the labour force
      • Employer having increasing control to the detriment of workers rights and stability
  • 15. Conclusion
    • Europe seems to be stuck between a rock (unemployment) and a hard place (atypical work)
    • Unemployment has decreased as a result of the flexibilization of labour markets...
    • But, inequalities have increased
      • Managerial and executive wages have been rising at a greater rate than those of stable employees
      • And the gap between stable employees and those in precarious employment has also been widening