In every society there will always be a number of people who are unemployed. Unemployment is when there are people in our society who desire work but are unable to obtain it because of the fact that there are not enough jobs for everyone. There are many factors that can cause unemployment but one of the biggest factors is lack of private investment. This is caused by private companies not expanding their activities fast or not expanding them fast enough. Another main factor of unemployment is the increase of labour costs.
Labour costs are the wages and salaries businesses have to pay their employees. This is a bad thing because if there wages and salaries increase to fast or are already high then businesses won’t be able to afford to pay the employees so they have to fire them. One final cause of unemployment is when there is a depression in the world economy. This is when countries of the world are going bad in there economy and cannot afford to buy as many exports as they would be able to previously. There are no positive aspects of unemployment and is really bad for the production of the economy.
This means that we are wasting our resources because instead of producing goods and services with them we aren’t doing anything with them. But this isn’t the only effect of unemployment, people’s income will also change and it will cause more poverty. Unemployment also reduces the amount of tax paid to the government which means that the government will be losing money because since less people are working the government is getting less income tax but with whatever money they get they have to pay all the unemployed people and this is how the government gets into a lot of debt.
Long-term unemployment is when people have been unemployed for 12 months or more. This is a very serious matter because when you have been unemployed for so long you have a high risk of poverty. Long term unemployment also places a strain on the government because they have to support without getting much tax revenue. Unemployment, particularly long term unemployment, is the most savage cause of poverty and disadvantage in our community. It is the cause of enormous personal and financial hardship for hundreds of thousands of people and their families.
Unemployment is the greatest determiner of poverty and exclusion–and that is why the fight against unemployment is so critically important. However it is said that this battle can only result in victory by concentrating on providing jobs and opportunities rather than penalties or slogans. The importance of employment can only be explained, in that undertaking paid work fulfils many functions in our society. Employment is the main way of receiving money and thus survival, but we also often gain our sense of identity, self-worth and social connections through the paid work we do.
Unemployment is the condition of one who is capable of working, actively seeking work but is unable to secure a paid job. However, it is essential to note that to be considered unemployed, a person must be an active member of the labour force and in search of remunerative work. In March 2002, the ABS estimated that 622,300 people were unemployed in Australia at a rate of 6. 3 per cent. This is disturbing, in itself, but the figures would be even higher if the definition of unemployment was not so narrow.
While the unemployment rate is useful, it also has some very real limitations. It does not represent what jobs are disappearing or being created, whether they are part-time or full-time, permanent or casual. It also does not reflect upon whether people are working too many hours or not enough hours, or the amount of time they remain without work. Unemployment is not a problem solely for those without paid work; it is a problem for all of us. If people have no money to spend, local businesses do not sell their products and this spiraling effect can impact on entire economies.
People face a number of barriers to employment. The primary barrier is that there are not enough jobs for those who wish to undertake paid employment. In February 2002 there were still seven job-seekers for every job vacancy. There are also not enough supports available for people seeking paid work, such as access to affordable child care and rehabilitation or support mechanisms for people with disabilities. Also, paradoxically, people are often considered too young or too old by prospective employers, so age can also be a barrier to employment.
Other barriers relate to where people are living. There are differences between rural and urban levels of unemployment, and also stark differences between suburbs in all major Australian cities. The unemployment rate is a figure produced monthly by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). An unemployed person is defined by the ABS as someone not in paid employment who is actively looking for work. Anyone who is doing paid work for at least one hour a week is not considered to be unemployed.
Many people are marginally attached to the labour orce–they want to work but are not actively seeking employment. Sometimes people stop looking for work because they are under the misleading impression that they won’t be successful. These discouraged job seekers may believe they are too old, or too young, or do not possess the skills an employer would want. This is hidden unemployment. The other large group of people not represented in the statistics are those who are working but would prefer to work more hours, the underemployed. In February 2002, over 27 per cent of part-time workers wanted to work more hours .
Three sources of data are used to calculate the figures representing the labour force in regard to unemployment. These involve the monthly labour force survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, statistics from the Job Network and statistics from Centrelink. Also, the Australian Bureau of Statistics take sit further in that they attempt to categorize the final statistics into sections involving age, region, sex, occupation and education. Currently, as previously mentioned, the Australian Bureau of Statistics states that the unemployment rate in Australia is approximately 6. % and nevertheless, this figure does not encapsulate hidden employment.
Unfortunately, anyone can become unemployed readily. Statistically, however, indigenous Australians, recently arrived migrants, people with disabilities, young people and older workers who have been retrenched are most likely to be unemployed. People living in remote and rural communities also have higher rates of unemployment. The graph above shows the percentages of people in different age groups who were unemployed and looking for work in March 2002. Youth unemployment is very high across Australia.
There are, however, fewer young people looking for work than in the past, as more undertake education and training before entering into the job market. Within the last two budgets, the Howard Government have attempted several tactics involving policies and the like to lower the unemployment rate in Australia. The centrepiece of the 2002 budget involved the Welfare Reform Package, which entailed many new policies to hopefully effectively reduce unemployment in Australia. This was designed to provide higher levels of service and support to those having difficulty with acquiring employment.
This new system features policies where sole parents who wish to retain benefits they receive as an unemployed citizen and support a child between 12 and 15 years of age is required to attend an annual meeting at Centrelink, or a program which involves the undertaking of community service and/. or part time work. Those over the age of 50 are now required to claim identical benefits tot hose under, as opposed to the previous Mature Age Allowance or Partner Allowance. Training credits will be offered, but conversely mutual obligation requirements were introduced.
Finally, all unemployed people face new requirements as soon as they have bee without employment for over 3 months, and are requested to attend interviews and job help programs to assist them in their search. Although Australians who are unemployed receive government assistance if they meet certain requirements, unemployment benefits leave many to survive below the poverty line. Governments play a pivotal role investing in research and development and social infrastructure (health, education and community services). Job creation is vital if the unemployment rate is to be reduced.
If governments make such investments, this will not only maintain the fabric of society, but will create many meaningful employment opportunities. An important aspect of unemployment is the length of time people are without work. Long-term unemployment is a major problem in Australia. In March 2002, 24. 7 per cent of unemployed people had been without work for a year or more; of this group, 57. 2 per cent had been unemployed for over two years. It is estimated that one in five poor Australians are in paid work but are still almost unable to support themselves, and are known as–the ‘working poor’.
Many people in Australia also get trapped in the cycle of insecure low-paid casual jobs, followed by periods spent living on income support. This growing number of people highlights the importance of creating quality jobs. Personally, I believe that whilst many effective strategies are in place to reduce unemployment in Australia, and in fact the rate of unemployment is lower than it has been in many years, more can be done to assist those unfortunate people. It has been said that the first step is to acknowledge that unemployment is a structural problem, not one of lazy individuals.
This indicates that governments have a role to play in developing appropriate policy: as unemployment may be exacerbated by government policy it can similarly be alleviated by political intervention. A policy to reduce unemployment very substantially has a much greater chance of success if it is based on increased government expenditure. Some regions have been particularly hard hit, with industries that have previously provided the bulk of employment closing down or moving elsewhere. In some of these areas people from business, governments and the community have started working together to generate employment and strengthen local economies.
In order to gain employment people need appropriate skills, so access to training is vital. Labour market programs that offer real and relevant training are needed not schemes which appear to blame unemployed people for their difficulties, with little focus on job placement and support. Whilst many occupations have placed several people out of work due to lack of demand, in opposition many professions require increased numbers of people to fill the demand in Australia. Programs should be established for the encouragement and training of those who require work in these fields, as this would doubly regard both the country and the people of it.
In termination, unemployment is an involuntary condition, which not only affects those engulfed by it, but those who surround such people. In Australia, in my opinion we are blessed to live in such a democratic society, yet where the government takes an active interest in the plight of the people and thus encourages independence. The unemployment issues in Australia are countless, yet they are not without solution. In years to come, it is likely that our unemployment rate shall continue to decrease, due to the unfailing efforts of our government and citizens.
Courtney from Study Moose