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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: UK’s long-term unemployment levels could ‘trigger social unrest’


The UK’s high levels of long-term unemployment could lead to widespread social unrest as people become progressively alienated from society, according to a study.

Therefore, the research entitled ‘World of Work Report 2012’, which was undertaken by the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation, warned that the coalition government should prepare for a repeat of scenes from last year’s riots, which started in London but subsequently swept the country.
The latest official statistics show that UK long-term unemployment is currently at a 16-year high, reaching 883,000 in the three months to February. More than one in five young people are without jobs, while a third of unemployed people have been out of work for 12 months or more.
But Raymond Torres, the report’s author said that such a situation could result in “huge economic and social costs”.
“When people are out of work for more than a year, they become demoralised, lose self-esteem and drop out of the labour market,” he explained. “These are individual effects but, at some point, it leads to anger with everything and with authority. It’s very worrying.”
Although there was a belief that austerity measures would reassure the markets which would, in turn, lead to the creation of new jobs and economic recovery, in reality “this is not the case and confidence has not recovered”, Torres added.
The UK was among five developed countries that the report warned could face increased social unrest as a result of high long-term unemployment. The others were named as America, Denmark, Ireland and Spain.
But just to add to the misery, the research also predicted that advanced countries, and particularly those in Europe, would not return to 2008 pre-crisis levels until the end of 2016 – some two years later than previously predicted – due to a marked slowdown in production.
While the study said that an estimated 196 million people were unemployed worldwide at the end of last year, the figure is forecast to jump 6.1% to 202 million this year. An average of 40% of job seekers in developed economies are in their prime (aged 25 to 49), but have been out of work for more than a year.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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