We Can Have More Jobs And Protection For Jobs

Posted on Friday, October 28 at 10:15 by jensonj
But there's a more important problem in the way Howard argues his case. Unemployment rates are a highly unreliable indicator for comparing the health of labour markets between countries. They are fatally flawed because they can leave out a large group of potential employees: those individuals who have dropped out of the jobless statistics. A much more reliable measure is the proportion of the working-age population in each country who have a job. The OECD provides these figures for each of its member countries. The OECD has also developed an index of employment protection, designed to measure "the strictness of employment protection legislation" for each of these countries. According to the organisation, the index takes into account "regulations governing the terms and conditions of permanent contracts in case of individual dismissals; additional provisions in the face of mass lay-offs; and regulations governing the possibility of hiring on temporary contracts". When we match up the two sets of figures employment rates and the job protection index for Australia and 16 comparable OECD countries an interesting pattern emerges, and it doesn't offer much support to the Government. Australia is already in the bottom half of the job protection range 1.5 in an index that ranges from 0.7 (for the US) to 3.1 (Spain), and we're a shade above average on the employment scale (69.5 per cent). The four countries below us on the index the US, Canada, Britain and New Zealand do have higher percentages of working-age people in employment. But so do five other countries with higher levels of employment protection: Switzerland (77.4 per cent in employment), the Netherlands (73.1), Norway (75.6), Sweden (73.5) and Denmark (76). To put it another way: of the six countries with the highest levels of employment, only one has less employment protection than Australia. Each of the other five Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark has more protection, yet is performing better in terms of providing employment. What about the Government's favourite labour markets the US, Britain and New Zealand? The US is really in a class of its own, offering virtually no regulation of either temporary forms of employment or the dismissal of individuals. The social cost can be very high, and the benefits an extra 1.7 per cent in employment above Australia's rate are easily matched by the more generous systems in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Four of those five countries also out-perform the other low-protection countries Britain, New Zealand and Canada in providing jobs. http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/we-can-have-more-jobs-and-protection-for-jobs/2005/10/27/1130400307827.html?page=1

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