mercoledì 3 settembre 2014

Temp work not a springboard but 'trap' says OECD

Report warns of continued high levels of unemployment

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Temporary contracts are not often a springboard to permanent work but can instead be a trap, particularly for the very high numbers of unemployed youth, who reached levels of more than 40% last year in Italy, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Wednesday. In a report on the employment outlook in major economies, the Paris-based agency noted about 40% of young people under the age of 25 in Italy were unemployed last year - nearly double the rate of 20.3% in 2007. The statistics have steadily worsened since then, with a youth jobless rate in July, the latest available figures, of 42.9%, according to Italian national statistical agency ISTAT.

In Europe overall, said the OECD, less than half of temporary workers in a given year had full-time permanent contracts three years later. The OECD study also noted that almost one in two young Italians under age 25 was in a precarious employment position last year and urged action to address what it called a gap in employment protection between permanent and temporary workers. It also urged governments to devote more resources to skills training and retraining of workers to prepare them for a world that is rapidly and continually changing. The extremely high rate of unemployment in Italy and in many other European countries has been a serious and lingering problem, with policy makers pledging to take action to open up employment for youth.

The OECD reported that in Italy, about 36.3% of employed young workers had had a job for less than one year in 2013 when about 52.5% of young people in Italy had temporary jobs. That is marginally down from 2012 when 52.9% had "precarious" jobs without solid contracts, but is still far higher than before the recession that hit in 2007 when 42.3% of young people were in what was considered precarious employment. It was also double the percentage of 26.2% in the year 2000, said the OECD report.

The agency also warned that unemployment is a significant problem across the world's major economies, and calculated that the numbers of long-term unemployed have almost doubled since the financial crisis. And unemployment will remain well above pre-crisis levels in 2015 in most OECD countries, it added. The agency said that in the first quarter of this year, more than 16 million people in the 34 member countries of the OECD were jobless and looking for work for more than one year. That is up from about 8.7 million before the financial meltdown began, said the agency, which added that as many as 45 million people were unemployed across the OECD.

That was about 12 million more than before the crisis and raises concerns about social unrest and divisions between a growing number of have-nots compared with the haves, said the OECD. Making matters worse, real wages - adjusted for inflation - have not grown across the OECD member states since 2009, it said. 

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