[EDITORIALS]Despair and labor dropoutsThe number of people who are refusing to work for no apparent reason despite being in an economically active age group surged this year. There were about 1.2 million people at any given month during the first seven months of the year who said they were “just taking a rest.” That figure excludes people who cited reasons for their joblessness, such as child rearing, health problems or education. The number of people who are “just resting” rose by 199,000, or 19.6 percent, compared to the same period last year.
The economically inactive population is defined as people who are of an active working age but have no intention of seeking a job for some reasons. Raising children, keeping house or health problems are understandable reasons. But a jump of this size in the number of people who say they are simply unwilling to work and give no other reason is a strange commentary on our labor force structure and economy. No one would say that the current situation, in which a growing number of people have given up on getting jobs, or are doing just fine even without jobs, is healthy or desirable for the economy.
There probably are only a few people who really are just “taking a rest” and had no other reason when they were surveyed by the statistical office. Such people might have been taking a rest temporarily after a forced early retirement; some of them may be able to live comfortably because of the largess of their families. Those people are in a better position than most because they at least have no urgent problems in getting by without jobs.
The real problem lies with the young people who gave up completely after failing to find jobs for a long time. They are living in a state of mindlessness and utter despair. These people can be easily lured into crime and are candidates for mental problems. They could also be a potential source of social instability.
It is never desirable to have many people at active working age who are left unemployed. How can we envision a bright future when there are youngsters who live on their parents’ savings or fortunes but other youngsters whose dreams to find jobs are shattered? We have no other solution but to create jobs ― decent jobs, in order to draw them into the workplace. Young people’s energy will be revitalized only when the economy is running well and members of our society have the energy to work hard.