One of Greek government’s top priorities is combating high unemployment and fostering growth. A three-year employment plan that aims to create 300,000-450,000 jobs, and has the potential to reduce unemployment by at least 5% (to 18% from 23%), was presented to the representatives of the institutions by Deputy Labour Minister Rania Antonopoulos, according to daily newspaper Avgi.
The project foresees the creation of 100,000-150,000 jobs per year for the 2018-2020 period, along with the promotion of active employment policies. Alternative ways of funding the program are being discussed – the possibility of a loan to Greece by World Bank is examined in this context.
According to Avgi, only the overall design of the program, and not the economic aspect of it was discussed with the representatives of the institutions. However they agree that on principle the completion of the second evaluation should include the immediate activation of a program for containing unemployment, since the prolonged economic crisis and failures of previous programs have led not only to a surge in unemployment (28% in 2014), but also in demobilizing large part of the workforce. According to the evidence presented by of the Ministry of Labour, at least 175,000 people remain out of work for more than five years, and are not likely to return if their skills are not renewed.
Moreover, the ministry pointed out the importance of avoiding the phenomenon of “growth without employment”, that has been observed in other countries who have recovered from the crisis. “We all agree that we will have growth rates of 2.5% – 3%, the question is with what kind of state interventions are needed, so that this growth will reach those unable to access the labor market.”
More specifically, the proposal of the Ministry of Labour foresees:
a) The creation 50,000-75,000 jobs a year through new community service programs.
b) The creation of another 50,000-75,000 jobs, targeted to specific groups of unemployed, like the 22 -29 year-olds with very high qualifications (to halt the «brain drain») or the older than 55 years who have stayed for long periods outside labor market.
According to the Labour Ministry, the creation of 100,000-150,000 jobs every year from 2018 to 2020 could establish the market conditions for creating an additional 50,000 jobs per year. In such a case, the unemployment reduction target of at least 5% by the end of the program is perfectly attainable.