An analysis of Bureau of Statistics data by Fairfax Media shows that the number of people out of work for more than a year rose to 175,200 people in January, an increase of more than 150 per cent since mid 2008.
…both the young – without skills and experience – and the old, in particular those in declining industries, were being hit by long-term joblessness.
The Bureau of Statistics data shows that the level of long-term unemployment has risen much faster than overall unemployment and nearly one in four people unemployed have been out of work for at least a year…
With more than 780,000 people officially unemployed and many more under-employed, there is simply not enough work for full employment to be even close to being achieved. And yet popularly, any discussion of joblessness still focuses on the idea that the unemployed are “dole bludgers” or “lazy”.
Schneiders’ analysis follows data released earlier this month by the Department of Social Services, which showed that the number of Australians on long-term unemployment benefits – “Newstart” – had increased to the highest level on record in December 2014, with 527,318 Australians on Newstart for more than a year, up 12.7% from a year ago.
Without wanting to sound like a broken record, this data does once again highlight the egregiousness of the Abbott Government’s labour market and welfare policies.
Included among these are its draconian work-for-the-dole measures, which have been proven to be ineffective, along with its plan to make it more difficult for under-30s to receive unemployment benefits, despite youth unemployment tracking at 14% – the highest level since 1998.
Neither measures do anything to increase the long-term availability of jobs, which is the primary problem. That is, unemployment is high because the economy is weak, not because workers are “lazy”.
Further, the Abbott Government is compounding the problem with its open slather approach to foreign working visas. These add to labour supply at a time when labour demand is soft and there is already a large pool of under/unemployed. They also discourage employers from taking on and training local workers, thereby depriving the unemployed of job opportunities.
Unfortunately, long-term unemployment is only likely to get worse as the mining investment boom unwinds and local car assembly shutters. The latter, in particular, will require large scale ‘reskilling’ of the workforce, which is highly unlikely to occur under current policy settings, which discourages on-the-job training in favour of a quick foreign worker fix.