Unemployment agony

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Unemployment agony

The pain of unemployment is on the way. We need to work on lessening the agony felt by people who lose their jobs, and do our best to pull the nation out of the tunnel of recession. The best way of avoiding trouble in the first place would be for people to keep their current jobs, even if it means pay cuts.

But there’s a limit to how much we can share the burden. Restructuring is inevitable, so we need to lay out some alternatives. We need to come up with strong unemployment measures to lessen the social and economic chaos as much as we can.

These steps must be multi-layered - giving support to the unemployed, providing sufficient job information, and strengthening the social safety net. The government on Nov. 3 revealed a revised budget draft that outlined plans to strengthen social welfare, but the amount of money to be committed was lacking, as was the content of the bill. Of the 14 trillion won [$9.38 billion] support budget, direct spending on things such as job loss compensation was raised by only 608.8 billion won ($405 million). Even as we face the worst-ever job market meltdown since the 1997 financial crisis, the government merely increased spending on creating new jobs by 47 billion won. Too many of the measures aimed at boosting work for young jobseekers were reworkings of earlier failed policies. In short, what the government calls measures against an unprecedented global economic crisis are unrefined and too abstract.

What we need are emergency policies with the worst-case scenario in mind. We need to revamp the job loss benefit program under the premise that the current economic slowdown may be slow to leave.

The government’s job shouldn’t stop at providing shelter for those who lose their jobs. It needs to invigorate job search and hiring services, and create new jobs to help people get back on the payroll. Drawing up new infrastructure projects that can immediately create jobs must be approached with a long-term perspective. Spending should be focused on preparing for an aging society, rather than construction projects, to contribute to longer-term economic growth.

The problem is money. The government needs to save as much as possible, in order to spend more on the job market. If that’s not enough, it can think about raising the job insurance rates.

The entire world is struggling to warm up amidst the job market freeze. We are no exception. Everyone needs to put their heads together and share wisdom so we can weather this winter.

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