Friday, 18 September 2009

OECD on Employment in Ireland: the outlook is "grim"

Nat O'Connor: The OECD has just published its Employment Outlook 2009. The main site is here, and there is also a report on Ireland.

The OECD is predicting up to 15 percent unemployment by end-2010.

They state: "To avoid a return to the high and persistent unemployment of the 1980s and early 1990s, a key priority is to provide effective employment services to a rapidly rising pool of jobseekers and ensure that the most vulnerable of them do not lose contact with the labour market and drift into inactivity."

They also question "whether re-employment assistance to jobseekers is adequate to prevent the sharp recession from turning into a long-term unemployment crisis."

Could there be a worse time for FÁS to be in such disarray?


Brian Woods said...

Reading the Irish summary: there are significant (and fatal) gaps - unstated assumptions about the Great God of Growth. He's gone on an extended vacation, without leaving any contact details and this unfortunate situation is just being ignored.

The critical question, which few economic commentators are actively addressing is, HOW it it intended that we extract ourselves from the massive mound of debt that we have accumulated since 2000 - and that we are still accumulating. All I see, hear or read is Growth, Growth, Growth - like some Hari-Krishna prayer chant.

Would some of these commentators care to take a walk around the major retail ares of Dublin. Take note of the 'Closing Down' notices. The sheets of brown paper pasted on the insides of windows and doors. After that little tour, get on your bike and visit the many business parks and industrial estates, or whatever they term these dreary places. You will get a very unpleasant shock.

So. Growth will solve all our economic woes. Sure, but how? And I mean real, practical solutions. Not wishful thinking along the lines of NAMA. And, please don't ask me, I have only radical, politically and socially unacceptable ideas. Like manual labour down on the farm!

Brian P

Joseph said...

@Brian P

I am starting to come round to the opinion that countries/companies/people always striving for 'growth' (higher profits, more productivity, more lending, prices always rising, etc.) is not going to be sustainable for much longer. I don't quite know where to look for the tipping point though to be able to call it. So far, it's just a hunch I have.

One area I can see 'growth' continuing in though is the length of the dole queues in Ireland (and elsewhere) - I think 15% in 2010 is a conservative estimate.

Talking to a French cousin of mine the other day, who runs a good sized company in France, he tells me what the French government are saying a bout coming out of recession is rubbish. He is currently at 70-80% of capacity and expect to go down to maybe 50% by end 2009. He says all the heads of other companies he talks to regularly say much the same thing. Are we being lied to? Surely not!

I was also filling him in on NAMA. He thinks our government is insane. He tells me the joke about Ireland doing the rounds in Frances just now is:
Q: how do you buy a small bank in Ireland?

A: buy a big one and wait!


Slí Eile said...

@ Nat Social Justice Ireland reports the following:
'In the short-term, the OECD acknowledges that these measures are playing a positive role. 21 countries have sought to save jobs by introducing or expanding short-time working schemes. But the OECD insisted that such schemes must be focused on companies where demand was only temporarily depressed, otherwise they could hamper the recovery by putting a brake on the required reallocation of workers from declining to expanding companies.
The report went on to say that governments must urgently adapt their labour market and social policies to prevent people falling into the trap of long-term unemployment. Measures should be focused on helping young people, who have been hardest hit by the crisis, to reduce the risk of producing a “lost generation”.
The OECD report also said that social safety nets should be reinforced to avoid jobless people falling into poverty. It urged an increase in spending on active labour market policies, such as job search assistance and training, to help the unemployed back to work. According to the report spending on these policies has increased in many countries but has not kept pace with the scale of job losses.'

Paul Hunt said...

There can be no avoiding the requirement for a major investment stimulus. Keeping the newly unemployed and new labour market entrants in touch with the world of work is important, but the State has to foster economic activity in those areas where it has a prime mover advantage, i.e., infractructure and utilities.

Relying exclusively on borrowing is not an option. Therefore, full or partial privatisation of some semi-states is necesaary to generate the seed capital that may be used to leverage the financing of large-scale investment in energy and water services. Paradoxically, in the case of electricity and gas, this will result in lower final prices without reducing the value of the State's equity share. And the Eircom ESOT may have to invest with STT in the telecom networks.