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The Dole Changes People

New research suggests long stints of unemployment can have long-term effects on personality traits, changes that may become near-permanent.
It's accepted knowledge that unemployment can have negative psychological consequences. Not only is a person's job status is not only often tied inextricably to a person's self-worth, but it's the life jacket that keeps the rising tides of poverty at bay. But how does unemployment affect the psyche long-term?
researchers found that men who spent several years looking unsuccessfully for work tended to demonstrate higher levels of "agreeableness" during their first two years of unemployment. Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits identified by psychology's five-factor model (FFM) -- along with openness, conscientiousness, extroversion and neuroticism. The testing showed after an uptick in agreeableness during the first two years, men's agreeableness levels began to quickly slump, with long-term ag…

Services Surplus to Requirement

In its normal state, capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid off. But during periods of economic crisis as we all encounter “hard times", its ending becomes an imperative.

Basically there are two sorts of unemployment. The first is the unemployment of the idle leisure class, the parasites and leeches, who while unemployed spends millions in conspicuous consumption. The second is the enforced unemployment of the wage slave.

We are told that there exists free labour. The employer is free to offer us terms of any kind – we are free to starve unless we accept these terms. Workers create profits, such huge profits that even in their wildest extravagances. Such is the “normal” paradox of capitalism that idle factories and idle workers side by side with the hunger of people throughout the world.

Capitalism greedily demands more and more profits, and uses faster machines to  produce goods and profits at a faster and faster rate. Workers are thrown on…

Fact of the Day

Glasgow has the highest percentage of workless households of any area in the UK, new figures have shown. Information from the Office of National Statistics showed that 30.2% (almost one in three) of Glasgow households had no-one aged between 16 and 64 in employment during 2012.

National average figures showed Scotland with 20.6%

The statistics showed there were 3.5 million such households in the UK between April and June this year, about 17.1% of all households containing a working age adult. This was down from 3.7 million, or 17.9%, a year earlier.

Desperate to work

Morrisons, the supermarket chain, advertised 250 vacancies at a new store in Kirkcaldy. Jobseekers were charged 21p a supermarket jobs hotline with more than 10,000 calls in an hour - an incredible rate of almost three calls every second. Jobseekers were charged 21p every time they left a message on the hotline. One applicant ended up with a £40 telephone bill.

The desperate job seeking has mirrored the opening of Asda in Glenrothes when nearly 7000 people were said to have expressed interest in positions and 400 people secured part and full-time jobs at the store.

Fife has the third-highest unemployment rate in Scotland, 7.8% of residents are unable to find work.

The Invisible Unemployed

Unemployment may be falling in Scotland in recent months but there is an ongoing increase in the number of people in part-time work and in temporary jobs.

There were 652,000 part-time workers in Scotland in the year to March 2010, but this had risen by 36,000 by March this year. The number of temporary workers has jumped 10,000 since June last year and stood at 128,000 in the year to 20 March. That is near enough a third of all Scottish workers.

 Some workers will choose to work fewer hours, it is estimated that about a 250,000 Scottish workers are “underemployed”.

National figures show that 330,000 more people are underemployed in the UK than in 2010, including 200,000 with dependent children.

Keith Dryburgh, policy manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, warned “Citizens Advice bureaux are increasingly seeing people who want to work longer hours but cannot find them in a difficult economic climate. These are people who are struggling to make ends meet, and yet are often ‘invisible’ in…

Young and without a future

A report for the Scotland Institute – The Changing Face Of Youth Unemployment In Scotland 1992 To 2012 – found that over the past two decades, youth employment has gone from being characterised as consisting of stable, relatively well-paid work with career prospects to short-term, part-time, poorly paid work with limited long-term prospects.


Report author Dr Roger Cook, the research director at the institute, said: “Twenty years of sustained removal of employment protection and the casualisation of work has created a situation where young people are becoming trapped in low-paid work with limited longer-term opportunities... This is the conscious outcome of an approach to the labour market over 20 years that has stressed flexibility and ignored the impact of this on people’s working lives or standard of living. Those who are relatively well educated are finding jobs but those jobs are less likely to offer a career, progression, security or a decent wage than was the case even in the de…

Deprived Scotland

A boy born in the most deprived 10 per cent of Scotland would have a life expectancy of just 68. That is eight years younger than the national average, and 14 years below boys born in the least deprived parts of the country.

 Rates of mortality for heart disease are twice as high in deprived areas, at 100 per 100,000 under-75s, compared with the national average. Cancer mortality rates are 50 per cent higher in poorer areas, at 200 per 100,000.

The number of Scots aged under 25 who are out of work has doubled to 90,000 since 2008, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said.

The report also highlighted the rise in part-time employment, from 70,000 in 2008, when the economic crisis hit, to 120,000 now.

The Scottish Government insisted Westminster benefit cuts were the biggest threat when it came to poverty and inequality. Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “The Scottish Government has powers to do a lot now. They don’t need to wait for constitutional change.&quo…

End of a Dream

Workers living on state benefits are well aware, it is quite impossible to put a little by for a rainy day, for every day is forecast as a downpour, and trying to keep your head above water is a constant problem. And for those who are wholly dependent on benefits as their only source of income, their whole lifestyle is dictated by their resourcefulness in eking out their pittance from one day to the next. Yet the ConDem government is planning to make things worse.

Changes to a single universal benefit – bringing together income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, housing benefit, and child and working tax credits – follow the cuts in child benefit voted through at Westminster last week, aims at reducing the UK’s welfare benefits bill. The universal credit is an attempt to simplify the complex benefits system into one new single payment.

A report, by public policy expert Dr Jim McCormick, says the new universal credits system, to be introduced over the next two…

Working less - earning less

Professor David Bell, an economic expert, warned MSPs that soaring numbers of Scots have been forced into “under-employment”  and a seismic shift away from full-time to part-time work and the disappearance of overtime have created a culture in which Scots’ lack of work is forcing them to cut back on household spending. Prof Bell’s report to the economy committee revealed the extend of “disguised unemployment” and the new phenomenon of “in-work poverty”.

About half a million Scots are now feared to be either out of work or under-employed. The number of part-time workers, including those who are self-employed, has risen by 74,000 since 2008, alongside a dramatic fall in the hours worked by full-time staff. The under-employment rate stands at over 10 per cent among Scots, with the academic finding there is not enough demand for the labour they are willing to supply. “The ‘Great Recession’ has had an adverse impact on the Scottish labour market,” said the report.

The jobless rise has be…

Under-employment

According to the TUC, about 270,000, or more than one in 10, Scottish workers are underemployed. That represents a 39% jump in the underemployment level in four years.

One view is that half a job is better than none. It keeps down the unemployment figures as workers accept part-time contracts in preference to redundancy and the unemployed take part-time work because it is all that is on offer.

Since last April low-income households have only qualified for tax credits (which are worth up to £3870 a year), if they jointly work 24 hours a week, with one partner working at least 16. Before April one partner working 16 hours was enough to qualify. The households caught in this trap are desperate for more hours but, in a tight labour market, they have difficulty getting them.



The outlook is bleak

Some 26 of 30 countries covered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have shown a falling labor share of national income since 1990. International Labor Organization (ILO) data show the gap between the top 10% of earners and bottom 10% increased in 23 of 31 nations since 1995. Between 1999 and 2011, average labor productivity in developed economies worldwide increased more than twice as much as average wages. Real average monthly wage growth worldwide, excluding China, fell to 0.2% last year from 2.3% in 2007. Unemployment might have been higher than it might had it not been for reduction in working hours, shorter working weeks, cuts in overtime and even job sharing in exchange for keeping jobs.

The United Nations bodY focuses on how the shrinking share of the pie going to workers was one cause behind the credit bubble. The falling share of national output going to workers in the decade before the crisis ended up boosting household debt as workers tried to ma…

Screwing the workers

Just four years after the worst shock to the economy since the Great Recession, U.S. corporate profits are stronger than ever. In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago, according to last week'si gross domestic product report. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of GDP in history.  How is that possible? It’s simple: profits have surged because wages and other labor benefits are down.

Today’s economy is a market. The 1% populariSe the view that today’s economy is a fair and argue, as Margaret Thatcher put it, There Is No Alternative (TINA). The market's real invisible hands are at work insider dealing and anti-union maneuvering plus outright looting and fraud. What they all seek is power is hire strike-breakers, lobby for special favors and backing politicians pledged to act on behalf of the 1%. Firms use political leverage to make sure that anti-labour laws determine employment and working conditions. Capital-int…

A reality check

All working-age benefits, including tax credits and child benefit, will only go up by 1% a year – less than half the rate of inflation – for the next three years. A cut, in other words, that will be worth £3.75 billion a year to the Treasury, in addition to all the previously announced cuts and freezes. The poorest 30% will be made to bear most of Osborne's budget cuts in the age of austerity.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation explained that as things stand – which is to say, before the next round of cuts – out-of-work benefits cover 60% of the minimum income standard for couples with children, and 40% for single adults.  It is calculated simply by asking ordinary members of the public what they think is "an essential minimum standard of living".

28% of workers engaged in the Scottish private sector earn less than £7.20 an hour. 17% of Scots are stuck in relative poverty – defined as having a household income of less than 60% of median household income. 

Six out of 10 chi…

Bleak Times

One in ten working-age people in Scotland will be on the dole by the end of the year, according to a new report.

Professor Brian Ashcroft, the editor of the commentary, blames in part the UK government’s austerity measures for choking off growth, describing it as a “serious economic policy mistake” which will be remembered for “generations”.

The core problem, the commentary suggests, is that the supply of labour is rising too fast compared to the number of jobs on offer. This mis-match between people and available jobs is now “identical to the trough of the recession”.

Targetting the vulnerable

Sick and disabled Scots and their families will lose out under UK Government benefit reforms, according to new figures published by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

CAS says 115,000 Scots will lose out on sickness benefits over the next three years. Of these, 36,000 will only be eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance. They will face a drop in income of at least £27 a week, and will have to seek work. Another 65,000 will drop out of the benefits system altogether – either because it is deemed a partner can support them, or because they have not paid sufficient contributions having been out of work for a lengthy period. This group faces a loss of at least £99 a week.

22,500 people in Glasgow will lose entitlement to a total of £73.7 million, with 19,600 told they are not eligible for Employment and Support Allowance. Meanwhile, in West Dunbartonshire, 2800 people will lose entitlement, saving the Government £9.1m, but will be plunged into an employment hunt in an area where the…

The Black Triangle Badge

It was a badge used by the SS guards to mark prisoners as “workshy” in Nazi concentration camps. Now the “black triangle” symbol has been adopted by a group of campaigners fighting the so-called “fit-to-work” assessments implemented by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in a bid to stamp out benefit fraud.

Set up Edinburgh campaigners 18 months ago, the Black Triangle Campaign was launched in memory of Edinburgh writer Paul Reekie, who took his own life – allegedly after having his benefits cut during a bout of serious depression. Reekie did not leave a suicide note, but he laid out two letters on his table, found after his death. One was notifying him that his housing benefit had been stopped. The other was informing him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.

Leith GP Dr Stephen Carty stands up for his patients when he discovered many were being told they were fit for work after passing a number of tests that did not involve consulting medical experts.

“I have grave concer…

The crack-down

Under the new rules, claimants face a tougher medical test, existing claimants are being re-tested, there are new requirements to engage in work-related activity, and the entitlement to non-means tested benefit is time-limited.

115,000 Scots will lose their incapacity benefit. 65,000 people in Scotland will be pushed out of the benefits system altogether, forcing a big increase in reliance on other family members and will add 35,000 to the number of those seeking Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Glasgow will be hit hardest. The report estimates that more than 22,000 people are likely to lose their incapacity benefits and more than 12,000 will be denied benefits entirely. Other hard-hit areas have been identified as Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and Clackmannanshire.

Professor Steve Fothergill, who co-wrote the report, said: the reduction in the numbers did not mean there is currently widespread fraud or that the health problems and disabilities were “anything less than real”.

http://www.heraldsco…

Under-employed

While Scotland’s official unemployment rate is 7.7%, combined with people seen as “economically inactive” and “underemployed”, then what it terms as the “full-time unemployment deficit” rises to 17.25% or 468,301 Scots the STUC has said.

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said:
“There are simply far too many people in Scotland at this time unable to access the quality, full-time work opportunities necessary to provide for a decent standard of living for themselves and their families.” He added: “Of course, the UK Government is continuing down the road of austerity, cutting jobs when they are most needed. There is little sign of hope for the half-million people in Scotland who are unemployed, inactive or underemployed.”

poverty trap for kids

Poverty trap for children as fifth of Scottish families jobless. The number of under-16s living in households without adults in employment rose to 145,000 (15.8 per cent of under- 16s) this year from 141,000 (15.3 per cent) last year. In Scotland, there were 359,000 workless households in June.

Mr Peter Kelly, the director of the Glasgow-based Poverty Alliance, said that if people were going into part-time or low-paid work, their earnings would not be enough to make a huge difference to their lives. "Sometimes you have to question the extent to which giving someone a job can lift them out of the low-income bracket. We want to see people moving into jobs that lift them out of poverty."

Women and children first

Women now make up almost one-third of Scotland’s unemployed. The number of females out of work north of the Border has soared 20% in the past 12 months. 47,000 women aged 16 and over in Scotland are now claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance out of a total claimant count of 146,900. The figure compares with 39,000 in July 2010.
Public sector cutbacks were blamed for the growing toll of female unemployment. The rate of female redundancies is also accelerating, according to separate figures for April to June this year which showed that women accounted for 45% of all those laid off

Youth unemployment north of the Border is racing ahead of the UK average, with the statistics revealing that Scots aged 18 to 24 accounted for more than 30% of Scotland’s JSA claimants, compared with a national average of 18.5%. There were 45,000 young Scots claiming JSA in July, a rise of more than 5000 on the previous month. Youth unemployment is up 10% on July 2010 and there has been a 40% rise in the nu…