Saturday 24 March 2018

Rising jobless crux inhumane

SOMETIMES it is easy to forget the human cost of the European debt crisis. The latest jobless figures show that more than 18 million people are unemployed in the eurozone -- equivalent to the populations of Ireland, Sweden and Denmark; a terrible statistic and the worst since records began in 1995.

Almost a quarter of the eurozone's under-25s are without a job and many more are being exploited; the generation that bears no blame for the debt crisis is paying a very heavy price indeed for their parents' mistakes.

Irish unemployment of 14.8pc is scandalous but it no longer looks that much worse than the average of 11.4pc. That is a tribute to the appetite for work in this country and the seriousness of the jobs situation elsewhere.

It is impossible to believe that unemployment can rise much further for much longer without triggering the sort of political problems that once nearly destroyed Europe.

Countless IMF reports have suggested that sharing out work by slashing salaries is the most humane way to deal with this problem. That is what has happened in Germany and Scandinavia where unemployment is low but many wages are also low.

Irish Independent

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