The Irish Times begins a week-long series today on Ireland’s jobs crisis. First up is a wide-ranging article by John Martin, Director for Employment, Labour and Social Policies at the OECD. The other contributors will be Philip O’Connell (ALMPs), Liam Delaney (training polices), Brian Nolan (welfare system-employment interactions), with a concluding article on Friday by Dan O’Brien. There is also an editorial today that criticises the government’s lack of attention to employment-related policies.
High unemployment levels are causing growing hardship to families and individuals, requiring extensive State borrowing to fund social welfare payments and causing long-term damage to the very fabric of society. In these circumstances, schemes for retraining and job creation should top the political agenda.
But the Government appears transfixed by the banking crisis and the need to reassure bond markets.
This blog has also come in for (mostly justified) criticism in giving too little attention to the unemployment problem. A partial defence is that effectively dealing with the banking and fiscal crises is very much part of the policy response to the recession to limit its human cost. Hopefully, the series will spur debate on more direct policies to limit the rise in unemployment.