A Job Creation Strategy for Greece

Michael Stephens | February 10, 2012

No matter what happens on Sunday, when the Greek parliament is scheduled to vote on the latest bailout package, on Monday Greece will wake up in the grip of an employment crisis (20 percent unemployment, with a near 40 percent youth unemployment rate).  In the Huffington Post Dimitri Papadimitriou tells us what we can (and can’t) do about it.

Depending on the Greek private sector alone to produce enough jobs to stave off these socially corrosive levels of unemployment is unrealistic.  Drawing from a report on the Greek labor market recently produced by the Levy Institute, Papadimitriou lays out the case for direct public service job creation.  As Papadimitriou points out, Greece is currently experimenting with a similar, small-scale version of the idea:

… a better option is being tried on a small scale: A labor department direct public service job creation program with an initial target of 55,000 jobs. Participants are entitled to up to five months of work per year, in projects — implemented by non-governmental organizations — that benefit their communities. A similar, streamlined, Interior department program, this one without NGO participation, will generate up to 120,000 openings.

This approach is the Greek government’s best shot at slowing the nosedive in employment, and at circumventing further catastrophe. The plans have been designed to specifically address and avoid the nepotism, corruption, and favoritism that plague poorly conceived ‘workfare’ schemes. With proper targeting, monitoring, and evaluation as the projects move along, the outcomes should be impressive

Read the whole thing here at HuffPo.

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