Study Abroad: Unemployment and Retraining

Michael Stephens | October 11, 2011

The National Journal asks whether we can learn something about addressing unemployment by studying elements of the unemployment insurance systems of other OECD nations, many of which make re-training a key part of transitioning from UI back to employment.  The American Jobs Act (dead man walking) contains a “bridge to work” provision that would include similar job training and apprenticeship programs (already in place in Georgia and North Carolina) as a means of aiding the long-term unemployed.  The Journal interviewed Dimitri Papadimitriou for their piece, who suggests that while a “bridge to work”-type program would be beneficial, this sort of thing would amount to (at best) nibbling around the edges of the unemployment problem:  “Papadimitriou cautioned that without a more general economic recovery, simply training unemployed workers doesn’t guarantee jobs.”  (read it here)

“Bridge to work” might be a positive addition to the social insurance system, but we shouldn’t mistake it for a “solution” to our unemployment problem.  As Papadimitriou illustrates in this Strategic Analysis, we should not expect unemployment to come down without a massive influx of demand, whether foreign (exports) or domestic (higher government deficits).


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