The culprits causing unemployment

With unemployment remaining stubbornly high, there is no shortage of scapegoats. Some blame the currency manipulators of our foreign trade partners.

Others cite technology that has displaced many workers. Sluggish economic growth often is mentioned. While all of those have some validity, the pool of unskilled workers must be recognized as major culprits.

Yet, in a world beset by uncertainty, each of those options is worth analyzing.

Undoubtedly, many countries struggle to keep their currencies relatively low to boost exports and to contain imports. However, in the long run, currencies cannot be artificially controlled, so that really is not noteworthy.

Of course, slow economic growth curbs the need for all workers. That is part of the business cycle that affects employment. When the economy once again expands as it will sooner or later, the pool of unemployed will shrink. Thus, the distressing total of unemployed is only a temporary factor, one that will not be a continuing problem.

Technology facilitates the specialization of workers’ labour, in turn augmenting business profits; a virtuous circle ensues. More profitability will lead to more employment.

Currently, the labour force is dividing. Many of those who are unskilled have difficulty hanging on to their jobs and those that can hang on, have to contend with low wages. Experts in the labour sector maintain that educational reform and investment in helping workers adapt is very significant. If workers were able to devise ways to work with new technologies, employment would gain significantly.

Given that, what should be done? The answer now lies in doing the opposite of the course pursued these days by Ontario’s Premier McGuinty. The scholarship and grant program for trained workers is being terminated there.

That will hinder workers’ ability to be trained.

Also, the Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top Scholarship, which provides a number of the province’s top students with up to $1,500 annually, has produced an incentive that has been very successful, but, unfortunately it is ending.

McGuinty’s administration also is discontinuing millions of dollars in research grants.

Heretofore they were hailed as important in stimulating economic growth.

Something like that should be implemented nationally as it is an effective strategy to innovate and create jobs.

Clearly, we should be pursuing programs diametrically the opposite of those that are being cancelled.

By turning more unskilled workers into those with skills, a major culprit contributing to unemployment totals will be replaced.

That would make a sizable dent in the unemployment rolls.



Bruce Whitestone